There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tax increment financing for transit

As I mentioned earlier, Sacramento Regional Transit has entered the "Show me the money" phase of its Transit Master Plan update.

RT and its consultant have drafted a nifty best-case scenario. Click on the image to see a slide show created from last Monday's board presentation. Starting on Oct. 9, RT will take its dog and pony show around town to determine, as RT puts it, "how we can fund future transit services and improvement projects that were identified as important to the region."

I've already suggested that "free parking" should be eliminated and the proceeds from charging a per-space fee directed to transit and bike lanes and sidewalk improvements.

Today I learned of still another idea: Transit Revitalization Investment Zones.

This is a concept that Michigan is actively exploring. The Michigan House is considering House Bill 6114, which would provide a new tax-increment financing authority.

According to a Michigan House analysis, the bill would allow for the creation of a new kind of tax increment financing authority, under which the growth in local property tax revenues within a designated zone could be captured and redistributed.

Imagine what this could do for the Downtown-Natomas-Airport section of RT's expansion plans. Such a Transit Revitalization Investment Zone could capture the property tax increase from the Railsyards and Township Nine and Greenbriar, as well as other areas where new, transit-oriented development would boost local property taxes. The same could be done for the section of track from Meadowview to Elk Grove.

Sacramento Regional Transit needs to look beyond the tired sales tax gambit if it wants to raise enough funds to pay for its dream scenario.

1 comment:

The Gadfly said...

The State will NEVER allow this kind of TIF. I would be for a regional gas tax IF the RT system actually went somewhere useful, and it the plan should include funding for streetcars in downtown the new "River Walk" waterfront district that WILL be built if Kevin Johnson is elected.