County Council adopts new payment schedule for road fees
September 23, 2011 · Updated 3:26 PM
The Metropolitan King County Council has given its unanimous approval to a new payment system for developer road fees. The fees are used to fund local transportation facilities in unincorporated King County which will be impacted by newly developed areas. The adopted ordinance breaks ground by creating an option for applicants to delay paying these fees, subject to the payment of an administrative delay fee.
“This legislation strikes a healthy balance,” said Council Vice Chair and sponsor Jane Hague, whose district includes part of Bellevue. “Builders and developers have been heavily impacted by this recession. The new payment schedule is a reasonable solution that gives these businesses some breathing room, while preserving funds for our much-need county transportation projects.”
King County’s transportation impact fee system is better known as the Mitigation Payment System or “MPS” and was created in 1991. The purpose of the MPS program is to provide funding for road improvements necessary to mitigate the traffic impacts of a new development on the county’s roadway system. Projects are funded by a mix of MPS fees and other public funds, not solely by MPS fees.
The MPS program divides the unincorporated area into approximately 230 zones or service districts. For each zone, the MPS residential fee is established through a computer traffic model’s determination of the impacts on the road system of new development. The legislation adopted by the council updates the project list, the costs of these projects and the fees for each zone. It also deletes zones that no longer contain any unincorporated area as a result of annexation activity.
As the unincorporated area shrinks, due to annexation activity, MPS revenue is projected to tail off. The Transportation Needs Report projects $8.2 million in MPS revenue in 2011-2022.
The new framework would allow a builder to pay fees due to the county at the time of closing or 18 months from the original building permit issuance, whichever comes earlier. Similar language has been adopted in Snohomish and Pierce counties.
The amended legislation has been accepted by two important local stakeholders – local transportation advocacy group Futurewise and the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties.