Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the criteria that might be used to choose specific transportation projects?

The following criteria may be used to choose projects: Improved safety, preservation and maintenance of roadways and other transportation facilities, increased vehicle capacity, improved travel times, increased performance of the transportation system overall, other criteria established by the TBD Board.

What area is included in the Thurston County TBD?

Thurston County’s Transportation Benefit District only includes the unincorporated areas of the County. That does not include any incorporated cities or towns, but it does include the urban growth areas just outside the city limits of the cities and towns. Source: Fehr & Peers, 2018

Who governs the TC-TBD?

The Thurston County TBD Board of Directors consists of all three members of the Thurston County Commission. For more information, visit Meet the Board

What kinds of transportation improvements can be funded by a TBD?

A TBD can fund transportation improvements contained in any existing state, regional, or local transportation plan that would address existing or foreseeable transportation needs in line with the goals of the TBD – system preservation, roadway safety, updated technology. Projects must also be included within the boundaries of the TBD (see above). Examples include preservation projects such as sealing pavement cracks on County roads, safety projects such as pedestrian flashing beacons at crosswalks, and technology projects such as new traffic signals that reduce wait time.

What kinds of taxes are TBDs allowed to collect?

State law allows TBDs to collect two types of fees: board approved and voter approved fees.

Board approved fees include an annual vehicle license (car tab) fees that start at $20 per year and can increase to no more than $50 after 4 years, and transportation impact fees on commercial and industrial buildings.

Voter approved fees include a sales and use tax up to 0.2%, a 1-year excess levy on property taxes, and vehicle tolls.

Are there vehicles exempt from the $20 fee?

Yes. Exempt vehicles include:
  • All farm vehicles
  • Campers
  • Off-road vehicles
  • Snowmobiles
  • Mopeds
  • Personal use trailers with a single axle and less than 2,000 pounds scale weight
  • Combination trailers
  • Trailers used exclusively for hauling logs
  • Horseless carriage, collector, or restored-plate vehicles
  • Converter gear
  • Government vehicles
  • Private school vehicles
  • Vehicles properly registered to disabled American veterans

What happens if no funding is approved?

Roads will continue to deteriorate as insufficient funding is available for pavement preservation; the County’s neighborhood traffic calming program will continue to be unfunded; and fewer roads will have fog lines, a proven, low cost means of reducing traffic accidents.

How much revenue could be generated by the various funding options?

  • Sales tax of 0.2%: $1.5 million per year based on 2015 sales tax revenue.
  • Car tab fee of $20: $1.8 million per year
  • Car tab fee of $50: $4.7 million per year
  • 1-year excess levy (property tax): $2.8 million per year
  • Transportation Impact Fees on commercial and industrial buildings: $140,000
Source: Thurston County TBD Informational Briefing, 15 May 2018.

What is the current status of the Transportation Benefit District?

The TBD board meets each month in open, public meetings. The public is encouraged to attend these meetings or tune into TCTV to learn more about the TBD.

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