Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Alan Herbert: Tax increment financing buys transit

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Georgia Strait

 Herbert has argued for years that TIF offers TransLink a way to obtain billions of dollars in transportation funding without imposing parking taxes or jacking up homeowners’ property taxes.

“It’s not adding a new tax,” he said. “It’s taking an existing tax, which grows naturally, and dedicating that growth to TransLink. The only disadvantage is that it requires politicians to agree that they’re going to take that increment and dedicate it to transit.”

There are not many politicians who like dedicating future taxes. It looks like a “hostage to fortune”. Dedicated gas taxes are used in the United States to fund transportation – initially it was only interstate highways but the disadvantages of that became apparent soon enough. And now it look slike gas tax will have to be replaced as a source of revenue much sooner than anticipated.

If you go to the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy we page you will find 34 papers on TIF. It seems to me that the jury is still out on this technique. In my opinion politicians will always feel that future increases in revenue should be theirs to divvy up as they see fit – not be bound by the priorities of earlier administrations. And I seem to recall many municipal assurances  at reassessment time that simple increments in valuation did not mean that property owners were obliged to pay more tax.

Written by Stephen Rees

March 20, 2008 at 1:48 pm

Posted in land use, transit

One Response

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  1. there was a guest on the christy clark show(cknw) today discussing this subject———-as I understand this -new skytrain stations,any building new or existing structure within roughly a kilometer of the station,will continue to rise in value-and so you dedicate all the value added tax towards paying for sky train- and keeping these taxes away form minicpalities and other taxing agencies——– sorry won`t work——————-for example -canada line is expected to run a 20 to 25 million dollar yearly operating deficit for well over a decade—sky train is just to expensive to fund that way—–unless you can put a 200 year mortgage on it———-one more thing,not everone thinks it will increase property values where they put skytrain!——thats why the wealthy property owners along the arbutus right-away put the deathblow to skytrain in that area!———a kumbiah society we are not—–skytrain brings drug dealers -addicts –crime–and I am speaking from experience –I lived near metro-town–as well edmonds station-and I have a sister tell me of the horror of surrey central!———skytrain brings more policing costs-security costs-more insurance cost -car theft cost-vandalism costs———————–its just a fact of our 21century world! 14billion trillion dollars is just a lot of ****ing money—————————————————————————————————————signed…………..a prisoner in your own home!

    grant g

    March 20, 2008 at 2:42 pm


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