An expanding population means more traffic, and more traffic means more roads, but who should pay for them?
On Friday, the Regional Transportation Commission considered a huge hike in the impact fees paid developers.
For more than a decade, local developers have been charged impact fees, a per unit assessment that helps build arterials and collector roads. Those impact fees have been adjusted before, the last time in 2003. That was a hike of 10 percent.
The RTC was considering an increase of 250 percent. It was, the industry said, too much and would have serious consequences.
Mike Dillon of the Builder’s Association says it would drive business out of Washoe County to Lyon and Storey County, even Carson City.
“There would be no economic development here,” Dillon says. “And the people would still be living here and using the roads, but there would be no money coming into the system.”
Dillion's point was repeated by a number of other industry representatives. Few members of the general public were there. Those who were said the increase was long overdue.
Ed Griffith, a Golden Valley Resident, thinks otherwise.
“(It’s) way overdue,” Griffith says. “These people have got the money to take time off, hire lobbyists and fill this room with smoke. I'm here to represent the public because these developers haven't been paying their fair share and it's time they did.”
The industry came prepared with an alternative: raise impact fees by 50 percent now, study the issue over the next year, see if many of the projects on the RTC's to-do list are really possible or needed, then give us another number. With only commissioner Jim Galloway from the county questioning whether 50 percent was enough, that's what happened. The recommendation now goes to the cities and the county.
It’s also likely this issue will appear in some proposal on the 2008 Ballot, which it would share with a school funding proposal.
Ed Pearce, KOLO 8 News