Olympia discusses future projects to be funded by Transportation Impact Fees


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:

  • Rate per trip: $2,946
  • Single Family Home: $4,229
  • Multifamily Unit: $2,392
  • Restaurant (per square foot): $16.09
  • Retail (per square foot): $10.81
  • Office (per square foot): $3.61

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.

  • Fones Road Improvements
  • Mottman Road Improvements
  • Martin Way Improvements
  • Wiggins/Herman Intersection
  • North/Cain Intersection
  • Bike corridors (~10 miles)
  • Isthmus Multimodal Improvements
  • Eastside/22nd Ave sidewalks and enhanced bike lanes
  • Division Street sidewalks and enhanced bike lanes
  • Roundabouts (three to five projects)
  • West Olympia Access Project Design


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  • Yeti1981

    Impact fees are a barrier to affordable housing. The proper way to pay for infrastructure is a broader tax paid for by everyone, which is what we are already doing. Impact fees will only add to the end cost of housing. In other words, a fee for the new people so that the people who have been there slightly longer can benefit off of what the new people bring or a way to block new undesirable people from your neighborhood. I thought we were trying to promote equity, not segregation by another name?

    Friday, September 22, 2023 Report this

  • Johns2cents

    Housing prices are ridiculously high. I think that our politicians should take credit for much of it. Impact fees raise the cost of all housing. These fees are added to the price of new homes and are paid for by the consumer. Since existing housing is a viable alternative and is in direct competition with new housing it raises the price of existing housing too.

    Cut taxes. The tax payers have had enough of your "good" ideas. Many of us would like the freedom to spend money on what we choose.

    Friday, September 22, 2023 Report this

  • BobJacobs

    Impact fees do not raise the cost of housing. That is the consensus of serious economic analyses of this question.

    How could that be? The studies say that impact fees reduce the value of land. Developers simply pay less for the land they build on. So impact fees are a tax on land values.

    If we don't charge impact fees, then general taxes have to cover the costs of transportation facilities to serve increased population. That is a subsidy by all of us to developers. And it increases the value of land.

    Growth should pay for growth.

    Unfortunately, impact fees and other growth cost charges (SEPA fees and utility connection fees) do not cover all of the costs of serving new development. So we are subsidizing growth to some extent. We should move toward charging development for the full cost of serving it, not increase our subsidies to developers.

    Bob Jacobs

    Friday, September 22, 2023 Report this