Footing the bill for increasing traffic | SierraSun.com

Footing the bill for increasing traffic

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

As the Town of Truckee grows, developers may be paying more to help alleviate traffic congestion.

A new study on traffic impact fees ” which builders pay for increased road congestion generated by their developments ” proposes an increased charge from $2,381 to $5,075 per single-family dwelling. Funds collected through the fee will be used for road improvements to prepare the town for future growth.

“The basic formula we used for this fee is figuring out the town’s improvement needs, the cost of those needs, and what percentage of that is attributable to development,” said Becky Bucar, Town of Truckee assistant engineer.

Despite more than doubling the past amount, the proposed fee is relatively moderate, Bucar said.

Pat Davison, executive director of the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe, said while town staff has done a good job in letting the association know a change was coming, the proposed amount was a surprise.

“The reality is that increases will be passed onto the consumer,” Davison said. “New home buyers will be paying for this.”

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The town has estimated $91 million-worth of road work, and the study attributes $65 million of that to development, said Truckee Senior Engineer Todd Landry. The proposed fee increase was based upon the town’s need to generate the $65 million estimate.

Projects that would be funded by the traffic impact fees range from intersection improvements around town to the Pioneer Trail/ Bridge Street extension, which would be a third access point for Tahoe Donner, Landry said.

When these improvements take place will be determined by when different developments get under-way, he said.

“If [Planned Community Three] comes online we will need improvements on Brockway,” Landry said. “Improvements to Coldstream would be tied to [Planned Community One].”

One issue brought up by the study is whether certain “institutional” uses will be exempt from paying, Landry said.

“The question with schools and those kinds of things that create traffic impacts is ” who pays for that?” Landry said.

Another question raised in a separate study was how do eastern Placer County developments affect Truckee traffic, and vice versa, Landry said.

“The draft study determined the net impact is about the same, so we discussed exchanging a certain amount or taking care of our own developments ” nothing has been decided,” Landry said.

Once the council has had time to review the traffic impact fee study, a first hearing ” tentatively scheduled for March 15 ” will be held, with a final decision on the fee increase some time after that, he said.