Transportation systems play a central role in the movement of people, goods and services and communities with robust transportation infrastructure systems in place are well positioned to capitalize on economic development wins. Many communities are, however, facing infrastructure challenges to keep up with current growth, compete for growth and capture future economic development opportunities.
In Ohio, Transportation Improvement Districts or TIDs are special assessment districts that promote intergovernmental and public-private cooperation to develop transportation resources and investments to solve these infrastructure challenges. TIDs are mechanisms to raise revenue for repair of roads, highways, and bridges within a defined geographic area. Districts are governed by a board whose job is to identify priority improvements, oversee financing, construction, maintenance, and repair of highways and roads. To complete these tasks, districts must capture funding, which they do by imposing taxes, tolls, or other fees. Revenue raised from these taxes or fees is returned to the city or county’s transportation improvement fund.
Setting up a Transportation Improvement District is a relatively easy process. The first step in creating a TID is for the commissioners of a county to pass a resolution creating the district and then are responsible for establishing the structure of the TID board of trustees. It is important to remember that a TID is a body that is both corporate and politic, and the exercise by it in the financing, construction, maintenance, repair, and operation of a project are and shall be held to be essential governmental functions.
A TID board of trustees can be established using one of two structures, as determined by the board of county commissioners:
- A TID board of trustees can consist of two members appointed by the board of county commissioners; three members appointed by the legislative authority or the most populous municipal corporation in the district; two members appointed by the legislative authority of the second most populous municipal corporation in the district; two members appointed by the board of township trustees of the township in the county that is most populous in its unincorporated area; and the county engineer; or
- As an alternative to this TID board of trustees structure, a board of county commissioners, by resolution, may elect that the TID be governed by members consisting of five members appointed by the board of county commissioners; one nonvoting member appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives of the general assembly; one nonvoting member appointed by the president of the senate of the general assembly.
Once the commissioners of a county pass a resolution creating the TID and determine the structure of the TID board of trustees, the TID board of trustees must meet and hold an organizational meeting where the TID board elects officers and drafts and adopts bylaws.
After the creation of the newly formed TID, the board needs to register with the Ohio Department of Transportation, or ODOT to be eligible for funding through the department. ODOTs current appropriations allows for $4.5 million annually through House Bill 62 the FY 20-2, the states’ transportation budget passed in 2019.
Last year ODOT awarded $4.5 million in grant funding to 27 Transportation Improvement Districts after receiving 44 eligible application Funding is award annually by ODOT and this year’s application period is approaching. The 2020 TID application window will begin May 1st and end May 31, 2020.
As stakeholders look for solutions to maintain and expand transportation infrastructure assets, communities need to explore new ways to invest in these assets as part of an overall comprehensive economic development strategy that drives private sector investment. Transportation Improvement Districts are one mechanism that drives the prioritization and implementation of improvements to the local level where local leaders collaborate to bring transportation goals to fruition.
Contact Dave Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org if the Montrose Group can assist with the creation of a TID as well as advocacy with the Ohio Department of Transportation for TID funding for eligible projects.