Transportation impact fees are collected by the majority of local governments, cities and counties, in Washington when new developments are permitted. Traditionally this money goes towards the local governments roads funds and in the case of large exurban developments they often pay for new expanded road capacity.
According to Herald Blog post Bellingham is proposing a set of criteria that developers can use to reduce their overall impact fee costs. Upon first glace I think this is a brilliant idea coming out from my hometown in the Northwestern corner of the State.
Here is the list of criteria proposed the reduce impact fees in Bellingham:
This approach will incentivize developers to build in urban walkable pedestrian oriented areas. It will encourage them to put their developments through a robust transportation demand management program and in the end it will save them money, encouraging development in the right places and with sustainable approaches.
It will be interesting to watch how this program works out in Bellingham (once it is adopted) and may serve as a good model for the Legislature as they grapple with how to incentivize sustainable development in our urban areas of Washington State.
The full blog post is here http://blogs.bellinghamherald.com/traffic/?p=5360
More info on the City of Bellingham's website here http://www.cob.org/services/neighborhoods/community-planning/transportation/development-impact-fees.aspx