Transportation Benefit District

Multi-use roadway in Olympia

What Is a TBD?

A “TBD” or Transportation Benefit District is a quasi-municipal corporation and independent taxing district created for the sole purpose of acquiring, constructing, improving, providing, and funding transportation improvements within the district. The boundaries of the TBD are identical with the City limits.

The Washington State legislature permits local governments to establish a TBD and accompanying funding sources to provide for the preservation, maintenance, and construction of local public ways.

Statutory authority for Transportation Benefit Districts has existed for 20 years. However, until 2007, to establish a TBD required a vote of the people. In 2007, the Association of Washington Cites (AWC) worked with the Legislature to provide some relief to cities and counties for traffic congestion. AWC was successful in amending the law to allow some flexibility. A City (or County) may now implement up to a $20 per vehicle fee with City Council (or County Commissioner) approval under Chapter 36.73 RCW. The members of the legislative authority proposing to establish the district, in this case the Olympia City Council, make up the TBD Board. Members of the TBD Board are acting ex-officio and independently from City Council.

Olympia's TBD

License PlateOn behalf of the Olympia TBD, the Washington State Department of Licensing is collecting a $20 fee at the time a registered vehicle is renewed within the City of Olympia. The fee will increase to $40 per vehicle beginning with January 2017 renewals per TBD Resolution No. 14.

With the establishment of a TBD, the City can begin to replace the transportation funding that has been lost over the years, and be better able to preserve, maintain or expand the City’s transportation infrastructure into the future.

  1. On December 16, 2008 after conducting a public hearing, the Olympia City Council approved Ordinance 6611 that formed the Olympia Transportation Benefit District and adopted a new chapter to the Olympia Municipal Code, 12.14 entitled “Transportation Benefit District”. The ordinance specifies that the boundaries for the TBD be coextensive with the City limits. Funds used to operate the District must make transportation improvements that are consistent with existing regional, state, and local transportation plans and necessitated by existing and reasonably foreseeable congestion levels as provided in Chapter 36.73 RCW. The council further determined that it is in the public interest to provide for transportation improvements that specifically focus on reducing the risk of transportation facility failure and improving safety, decreasing travel time, increasing daily and peak period trip capacity, improving modal connectivity, and preserving and maintaining optimal performance of transportation infrastructure. The governing board of the TBD shall be the Olympia City Council serving in an ex-officio and independent capacity as per RCW 36.73.020.
  2. On February 24, 2009, the Olympia TBD Board approved the Charter of the Olympia Transportation Benefit District outlining the conditions by which the TBD is organized and defining its rights and privileges. It was also found necessary that a dissolution date be set for the TBD, consistent with the end of the Regional Transportation plan, or until all projects are completed and all TBD debt retired, whichever comes sooner.
  3. On March 24, 2009, an ordinance was passed that set an annual $20 per vehicle registration fee to be used to help pay for pavement management on City arterials and major collectors, Boulevard Road improvements, and Harrison Avenue Road improvements.

Need more information? View Resolutions, Policies & Reports , Meeting Agendas, Minutes & Videos, read our TBD Brochure, or visit our FAQ page.

TBD Projects

TBD ProjectTBD Ordinance No. 1 established that the annual fee be used to help pay for the following projects in order of priority:

  1. Pavement management on City arterials and major collectors
  2. Boulevard Road intersection improvements
  3. Harrison Avenue NW Road improvements

RCW 36.73.020 lays out project selection criteria to be considered:

  • Reduced risk of transportation facility failure and improved safety
  • Improved travel time
  • Improved air quality
  • Increases in daily and peak period trip capacity
  • Improved freight mobility
  • Cost effectiveness of the investment
  • Optimal performance of the system through time
  • Must be in the boundaries of the TBD
  • Other criteria as adopted by the TBD Board

Your TBD dollars at work! Visit the TBD Projects page for more information including planned project details and completed projects with before and after photos.

Contact the TBD

Phone: 360.570.3727
Mail: PO Box 1967, Olympia, WA 98507-1967