Sophie Stimson, City of Olympia Public Works Transportation Director, briefed the Olympia Finance Committee on Transportation Impact Fees yesterday, September 20.
Transportation Impact Fees are a funding mechanism to build new transportation infrastructure that adds capacity and is connected to Transportation Concurrency, which requires cities to build a minimum level of new infrastructure to support growth.
“The Growth Management Act provides two tools that help us improve our transportation system as the community grows,” Stimson said. “You've heard of concurrency-- it's a requirement of the law, and impact fees are separate but tied to concurrency.”
Olympia collects these impact fees from new private development, which assists in funding street system improvements needed to accommodate the growth in transportation from new commercial and residential developments.
“As development occurs, impact fees can be charged of residential or commercial development, and they can be used to improve parks, schools, and the transportation system,” Stimson explained. “The focus of these programs is to build capacity on our transportation system-- building capacity means we can handle more trips on our streets.”
In the past, Olympia used impact fees to fund improvements to the street system to support vehicle travel, such as new intersection improvements or new lanes on a street. But in 2021, the fees program was revised to fund bike, pedestrian, and transit improvements.
“The revenues we use for transportation capital projects-- it's about 6.5 million in total. Impact fees contributed about a million dollars in those revenues,” Stimson said.
The current 2023 Transportation Impact Fees are as follows:
The updated 2024 transportation impact fee, to be adjusted for inflation, will be proposed in October.
Past projects that used impact fees were the Boulevard and 22nd Avenue Roundabout, Log Cabin Road Extension right-of-way, Boulevard and Morse Merryman Roundabout, Henderson and Eskridge Roundabout, and Fones Road Improvement Project.
For the next 20 years, the following projects will be funded by the Impact Fees.
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