Transportation Improvement Districts Have Big Opportunities for Project Financing

Many growing communities facing infrastructure challenges to keep up with current group and remain positioned to capture future economic development.  Transportation Improvement Districts (TIDs) are a vehicle used to solve these infrastructure challenges.  TIDs are mechanisms to raise revenue for repair of roads, highways, and bridges within a defined geographic area.  District are governed by a commission whose job is to 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.  Although the U.S. Department of Transportation has acknowledged these entities, no specific regulation or provision directly addresses them.  Therefore, the formation and regulation of transportation improvement districts occurs on the state and local government level. In fact, at least two states (Ohio and Virginia) have legislation governing transportation improvement districts.

In Ohio, TIDs are created by a board of county commissioners. The TID board consists of members appointed by the board of county commissioners, legislative authority of the most and second most populous municipal corporations in the district, the board of township trustees, the county engineer, and the legislative authority of any township or municipal corporation that cannot otherwise appoint a member and is within the geographic area covered by the district. Each district is charged with financing, construction, maintenance, and repair of road and highway projects.   Ohio TIDs raise revenue for projects by levying special assessments and issuing bonds if it finds that the resulting improvement is beneficial to the general public. If levying assessments, the district cannot exceed 10 % of the assessable value of the lot or parcel of the land being assessed and all proceeds raised by the transportation improvement districts shall be applied to road or highway projects.