The port will use some of their general obligation bonds to finance the public improvements at Terminal 1, but this will not cover all the funding needed. An additional financing tool is needed to supplement the port’s dollars.
In 2021, the Washington State Legislature created such a tool by passing House Bill 1189, allowing some municipalities (cities, counties and ports) to establish Tax Increment Areas to fund public improvements that help create the ability for new private development to occur.
All increment areas must have a specified boundary, a set duration, and a specific list of projects to accomplish. In this case the specific tax increment area is the property encompassing the port’s Terminal 1 project, with a time frame for the port’s proposed increment area of 25 years.