Transportation Development Districts Good, Could Be Better, Says Auditor
Transportation Development Districts are in the Post-Dispatch again, with another, longer, report on the recent audit of TDDs, by the state. This article gives some concrete examples of the good TDDs have done for our area. For instance, Eager Road was a traffic nightmare after the explosion of shopping there in the past 10 years. The monies from the TDD have dramatically improved driving on Eager, and that money has been paid by the people who use the shopping center. Sort of a toll-like user fee, but with more collateral damage. People who shop there, but don’t get there via car, pay the costs, although people who use the roads, but don’t shop there, don’t cover any costs — so it ain’t perfect.
The lack of accountability is a serious issue. The records should be much more available to any interested party, such as Crestwood activist Catherine Barrett, who is discussed in the article. Better oversight is indeed more important, too. Every year, entities that set a property tax rate have to send that rate to the state auditor’s office for examination and approval, in order to make certain the rate is not higher than allowed by law. I see no reason districts like TDDs that set a sales tax rate should not have to do the same thing. I would like to see the Legislature address this issue with a scalpel, not a hammer. Small changes to the laws can improve the process while continuing to let TDDs bring much-needed transportation improvements to our area.