Federal BID Policy Ideas

Federal BID Policy Ideas

General Principles

  • Incorporate BIDs into a federal value capture strategy. 

     BIDs are a way for the public sector, at all levels, to partner with the private sector and share in the benefits derived from public investment. For example, when the public sector makes a commitment to revitalizing an area, building a park, or creating mass transit opportunities, the value of surrounding properties are increased. Without a BID or some other value capture strategy all of that increase in property value accrues to the businesses and property owners, although it was public sector action that created the opportunity for values to increase.

     Examples, though more prevalent in the largest BIDs abound, and include: Washington, DC, New York City and University City in Philadelphia BIDs where BIDs organized and partly funded bus routes that circulate within the district and to important city, regional and national transit connections. Similarly at the Fulton St. BID in NYC, the DOT funded physical improvements in return for area property owners agreeing to establish a BID to maintain the improvements. In another vein, the suburban Coliseum Central District in Hampden, Virginia and the newly established BID in King of Prussia, PA., have both sought to participate in the planning of federal highway funded projects impacting their districts as well as in planning for future mass transit services.

     With a BID, property owners are required to reinvest some of the value created by public action or resources back into the neighborhood to support common goals. Strategically, the ability of the private sector to bring resources to address an issue can be particularly timely and effective in that the BID can provide matching funds needed to draw down federal funding for cash-strapped local governments, as well as undertake preliminary planning and/or engineering to facilitate project implementation. Where increases in property values are to be expected as a result of federal action, a value capture element should be written into the application or application scoring process.

     Encourage States to Adopt Value Capture Strategies. When states apply for various federal funds that will be used to improve communities, the federal government could require states to indicate how they have worked with local governments and others to incorporate value capture strategies.

     BIDS occupy a distinct niche in the American polity, being comprised of private property owners with the authority to raise revenues for collective action much as local government does, while generally operating within a nonprofit structure. The ability to collectively act on behalf of directly affected stakeholders, makes BIDs a unique partner with whom the federal government can work. In response, the federal government should recognize this unique structure and seek to make BIDs an eligible partner with federal agencies in the planning and implementation of federal policy priorities.

Some Specific Ideas

  1. Transportation: Permit BIDs to seek funding for developing and operating local mass transit systems, managing transit chek programs, funding traffic management programs.
  2. Commerce or HUD (PD&R) could create a center for BID research and data collection. Collect narratives, indicate best practices and make annual awards to heighten awareness of BID successes.
  3. Funding for BID-managed customized job training, job banks and other employment services.
  4. Walk to Work housing programs. Create a limited demonstration employer-assisted housing tax credit program for businesses located in BIDs.
  5. Permit BIDs to seek open space and park development funding.
  6. Make alternate/renewable energy grants and loans to create local energy management and efficiency programs.
  7. Give additional priority to BIDs for tax-exempt economic development funding. 
  8. Enable BID revenue streams to serve as credit enhancement for FHA, EDA and other federal insurance programs. 
  9. Give a priority for federal funding for assessment and clean-up of brownfield sites to areas within BIDs. 
  10. Enable BIDs interested in addressing neighborhood stormwater management problems to seek planning and implementation funding for mitigation activities.



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