A recently established Transportation Benefit District (TBD) sales and use tax becomes effective April 1, 2011. Approved by voters in the 2010 General Election, businesses within the City limits will begin collecting an additional two-tenths of one percent (.002) sales and use tax on eligible purchases.
Bellingham voters approved the sales tax increase to provide dedicated funding for priority transportation needs for ten years. A sales tax increase of two-tenths of one percent on $300 of taxable items amounts to 60 cents. The increase is expected to generate up to an estimated $4 million per year for street paving, non-motorized transportation projects and transit, as outlined in the City of Bellingham Transportation Improvement Plan (3,300K PDF).
The Bellingham City Council took final action to form a Transportation Benefit District on July 12, 2010. Bellingham Mayor Dan Pike proposed the Council create the district to help provide dedicated funding for priority transportation needs within Bellingham.
The district boundaries are consistent with Bellingham city limits. The district is governed by the members of the City Council acting as district board of directors.
Transportation benefit districts are quasi-municipal corporations with independent authority, including the authority to impose certain taxes and fees – either through a vote of the people or Council action - for transportation purposes. Formation of transportation benefit districts by cities is governed by RCW 35.21.225 and RCW 36.73.
For more information about the Transportation Benefit District, contact the Finance Department.