Transportation Benefit Fund

I-976 Passed By Voters

Washington Initiative 976 (I-976) is a ballot measure that voters passed November 2019. I-976 reduces the State’s vehicle car-tab fees to $30 and limits funding for State and local highway, transit, and safety improvements. The initiative eliminates the City's vehicle license fee.

Voter-approved I-976 was set to take effect December 5, 2019.  King County Superior Court Judge Marshall Ferguson issued an order November 27, 2019, temporarily halting implementation of the initiative. The order instructs the State to continue collecting car-tab taxes and distributing that money to the government agencies that use the fees. The plaintiffs are challenging the initiative on constitutional grounds arguing the ballot title language was misleading. They are also arguing the initiative causes substantial injury to the plaintiffs. It is the City's understanding that if the plaintiffs' challenge fails the State would be instructed to issue refunds to taxpayers.

As a result of the order, the City will presumably continue to receive these funds but will not be allowed to spend the monies until such time as a final disposition is determined. The City's department of Finance & Administrative Services will be taking care to track these funds and to hold the funds aside pending final legal resolution.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Bainbridge Island Transportation Benefit District (TBD)?

In 1987, the WA State Legislature created Transportation Benefit Districts (TBDs) as an option for local governments to fund transportation improvements (Chapter 36.73). In 2005 and 2007, the Legislature amended the TBD statute to expand its uses and revenue authority. The expansion included the ability to authorize a $20 annual vehicle license fee (VLF) with up to an additional $80 of VLF if approved by voters within the district.

The WA State Legislature provided local governments with these tools because of inflationary erosion of the local share of gas tax, and because the elimination of other traditional sources of funding for local transportation needs per passage of a series of statewide ballot initiatives over the last 12 years.

When and how did the City Council establish a TBD?

The Bainbridge Island City Council approved Ordinance No. 2012-14 on August, 22, 2012.  The ordinance created a new chapter in the Bainbridge Island Municipal Code: Chapter 12.29, Transportation Benefit District (now repealed). The new Code chapter established the TBD's governing board, purpose and autority of the district, use of funds, and dissolution of the district.

When did the Bainbridge Island Transportation Benefit District (TBD) become the Transportation Benefit Fund (TBF)?

On December 31, 2015, the Bainbridge Island Transportation Benefit District (TBD) was dissolved and assumed by the City of Bainbridge Island as a fund of the City. For additional detail on this transaction see the accompanying notes to this financial statement (PDF) and Ordinance No. 2015-31 (PDF).

Enabling Legislation