What is the Transportation Benefit District (TBD)?
The State Legislature created a section of law which allows local governments to create a Transportation Benefit District (TBD) as a way to help fund improvements to local streets, sidewalks, and trails. A TBD is a specific district where the revenue is collected and that money is legally required to be used for transportation purposes only!
In 2012 Lynden voters approved an increase in the sales tax rate from 8.5 percent to 8.7 percent for transportation improvements under a TBD. This 0.2% sales tax increase translates to a 20 cent increase in taxes on a $100 purchase.
The TBD allows the City to collect funds from non-residents as well. Anyone who makes a purchase in Lynden (resident or non-resident) benefits from Lynden’s transportation system, so it makes sense that they contribute to help us keep it in good condition. Lynden residents who buy goods in Ferndale and Bellingham already are contributing to streets in those communities though their respective TBDs.
This voter-approved funding is providing a much needed source of revenue since several statewide programs are no longer available to help fund such projects. Additionally, state and federal transportation funding is limited to Lynden’s arterial streets like Main, Front and Grover Streets and Depot Road. Non-arterial streets improvements are left to be funded solely by local monies; and even the arterial streets normally require local matching funds.
The TBD monies are helping with needed repairs and improvements to these critical assets (streets), that otherwise would result in more future costly repairs if improvements were delayed. The City has identified several million dollars of improvements to streets and sidewalks needed in the coming years to meet the demands of the community. Each year Lynden’s priority projects are reflected in the Six-Year Transportation Improvement Plan. These planned improvement projects are also included in the following Annual TBD Report. The City Council and Mayor serve as the TBD Board.