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Preliminary results show Arlington’s Transportation Benefit District passing

ARLINGTON — Initial results from the Aug. 6 primary election show the Arlington Transportation Benefit District Proposition No. 1 leading by much more than the simple majority that it needs to pass.

As of Thursday, Aug. 8, at 5 p.m., the Arlington Transportation Benefit District Proposition No. 1 received 1,487 votes to approve it, or 64.82 percent of the total votes counted, and 807 votes to reject it, or 35.18s percent of the total votes counted.

“We are very appreciative of the voters’ support to pay for the maintenance and preservation of our streets,” Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert said. “We did this the right way. After examining the revenue situation, the City Council said, ‘Let’s ask the voters.’ Now the hard work begins, to repair our 126 streets that are in failing or near-failing condition.”

The Transportation Benefit District would fund the preservation, repair and improvement of 126 failing and near-failing road segments within Arlington, if voters approve a $0.002 additional sales tax for 10 years, which is projected to raise $650,000 annually from residents and non-residents alike.

“Both residents and non-residents use our roads, so they should both pay into the TBD,” Arlington Assistant City Administrator Kristin Banfield said. “It would mean paying 20 cents on $100 of taxable goods purchased in the city of Arlington.”

In the weeks and months leading up to the final drafting and submission of the TBD ballot resolution and explanatory statement for the voters’ guide, Banfield agreed with Arlington City Council members such as Steve Baker that the ballot resolution’s language regarding those road segments needed to clarify that portions of those roads are failing or near-failing, rather than the entire roads.

“There’s no real uniformity in the segments that are deteriorating,” Banfield said. “It ranges from half a block to multiple blocks, depending on the roads.”

Although the TBD Board has acknowledged that such a sales tax increase would not necessarily cover all the costs of preserving and repairing those road segments, city of Arlington Public Works Director Jim Kelly nonetheless deemed those funds essential for securing grants that could make up the difference, given that significant percentages of federal grant monies have been set aside exclusively for pavement preservation.

“If we don’t capitalize on those funds, we lose out,” Kelly said.

According to Kelly, the prioritization of road segments most in need of being addressed was determined according to the Pavement Condition Index, as well as the types and severities of pavement distresses, and the classifications of the city’s 167 lane-miles of paved road surfaces under the following categories:

1. Arterials serving 6,000 or more vehicles daily.

2. Collectors serving 751-6,000 vehicles daily.

3. Streets serving 750 or fewer vehicles daily.

To see which road segments have been selected for repair and improvement, you may log onto www.arlingtonwa.gov/TBDMaps.

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