Transportation Impact Fees and Excise Taxes: A Survey of 16 Jurisdictions

PAS Report 493

By Connie Cooper, FAICP

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Impact fees, when based on a comprehensive plan and linked to a sound capital improvement plan, can be an effective tool for ensuring adequate infrastructure to accommodate growth where and when it is anticipated. Local government experimentation with impact fees has been paralleled by increasing state court involvement in the review of these fees. A general trend in the state courts has been to require a rational nexus between the fee and the needs created by development and the benefits incurred by the development. 

This report examines the legal foundations for impact fees and reports the results of a survey of 16 jurisdictions, describing the impact fees and excise taxes they use to help fund transportation infrastructure. Specifically, the survey examined administration; eligibility criteria; service areas; calculation methodologies; reductions and exemptions in fees; developer participation; credits; legal challenges; and more. Contact information is provided for each community. 

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Page Count
Date Published
Oct. 1, 2000
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Table of Contents

Introduction: A historic and legal perspective on development exactions
Early exactions • Advent of the impact fee exaction • Early court challenges • Rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court • Recent state court decisions on impact fees • Summary

1. Background and summary of findings
Summary of findings

2. Jurisdictions that employ impact fees
Arlington, Texas • Atlanta, Georgia • Boise/Ada County, Idaho • Bozeman, Montana • Cary, North Carolina • Franklin, Tennessee • Leawood, Kansas • Orlando, Florida • Phoenix, Arizona • Portland, Oregon • Reno/Sparks Metropolitan Area, Nevada • San Diego, California • West Valley City, Utah

3. Jurisdictions that employ excise taxes
Boulder, Colorado • Lee's Summit, Missouri • Overland Park, Kansas

4. Summary tables
Table 1: Road financing technique characteristics • Table 2: Road financing impact fee comparison

Appendix. Additional reference materials addressing impact fee issues
The American Planning Association policy guide on impact fees • Draft of a model development impact fee statute • Additional reading