Proven Result Of A Transportation Benefit District
What can a Transportation Benefit District do for Shelton's roads and economy? Take a look for yourself at the benefits the city of Wapato has experienced since establishing a Transportation Benefit District in their town. Wapato City story in the Yakima Herald
Establishment of a Transportation Benefit District offers a method to collect and setting aside money specifically for improving roads and streets within the set district (i.e. city, county). Once the money is collected it can then be used to fix roads. Included in the "approved" uses of this money is to use the money to apply for and get grants that require matching funds. The story of Wapato Washington tells of the City of Wapato's use of Transportation Development District dollars; One example was a private grant for $650k, a company agreed to pick up a sizable portion of the cost of the road project, providing $309,200 with an economic investment grant from Yakima County matches the $309,200,leaving the city to provide the remaining $25k-$32k. Numbers estimated for the City of Shelton with a $20 tab fee is $130k annually.
The story also highlighted plans for next year; to apply for a transportation grant of $450k, with the City of Wapato matching the grant request with $50K to complete a $500k project which widened and paved streets. By the way the matching funds are generally due at the end (or completion) of the work, giving additional time to collect (save) money for the match.
The question on the table is this a tax? or a method to build up funds (save) to improve the roads. If the City has the reserve funds to fix roads the door starts to open to apply and secure grants (private, federal and state). Without the reserve and/or matching funds we sit around and wait for the "free money" to fall in our laps. KMAS was told by those who know "this isn't going to happen". Currently the County's roads are in "better shape" than the City streets and roads because the County Road Engineer Melissa McFadden fights to maintain dollars in the road fund account specifically for maintenance and operation of the road department and to maintain road conditions. The current 2015 road fund balance is $1M in 2015, the $1M will be used to acquire additional grant funding. McFadden estimates the county could receive over $4M in grant dollars (a 4-1 ratio of grant dollars to matching dollars) to repair Mason County Roads. Without the matching dollars the County would not qualify for any of the grants.
Jerry Eckenrode, Shelton, WA
March 5, 2015