AUSTIN (KXAN) — New development is on the rise in Austin and in the surrounding areas. With that, comes more traffic, more pedestrians and more bicyclists, as well as more safety concerns.
The City of Austin Transportation Department has a tool they hope will help fund improvements to ease the burden on taxpayers. The Street Impact Fee would allow the city to charge developers a fee that would pay for some of the costs related to specific improvement projects in the area.
Builders and developers would pay this fee when the city issues a permit. This would give the city an opportunity to shift some of those costs that would normally come out of city coffers.
These fees could be used to make improvements to major roads, signage, pedestrian crossings, bike lanes and parks and schools that are needed to serve the development.
Right now, the city says development does chip in, but in an unexpected way.
“We do have developments that are contributing but it’s not as constant or equitable across developments so an impact fee would be a way that everyone would be charged the same based on their size of their development an impact on the network,” said Liane Miller with the city’s transportation department.
State law requires that impact fees be reviewed and updated at least once every five years.
Currently, the city is wrapping up a study on the Street Impact Fee and it could go before council later this year. This is part of the city’s Strategic Mobility Plan that council will vote on at the end of the month.