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How does the new Street Impact Fee (SIF) affect my project in Austin?

If you are looking to start a new development project in the City of Austin, there is a new impact fee that you should be aware of. Our experts break it down for you.

If you are looking to start a new development project in the City of Austin, there is a new impact fee that you should be aware of. In December 2020, City Council adopted a new Street Impact Fee (SIF) that will be assessed on new developments to help fund roadway capacity projects. Here’s what you need to know.

What is the SIF?

Just like the impact fees collected by utilities, the concept behind the SIF is to collect fees to help fund roadway capacity improvements triggered by new development.

Currently, development projects are subject to a “fee-in-lieu” which is determined on a case-by-case basis based on a Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA). Currently, a TIA is required if the expected number of net new trips generated by the project exceeds 2,000 vehicle trips per day (vpd).

The new SIF will help improve predictability for developers. Development teams will be able to determine the transportation impact (in dollars) earlier in the project based on the project location.

When does the SIF take effect?

Although the ordinance is currently in effect, an 18-month grace period was approved to help development teams prepare for the change. Any project with a new building permit issued on or after June 21, 2022 will be subject to the fees.

(Exception: For any Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) approved prior to December 21, 2020, SIF will not be collected until December 21, 2023.)

Austin Skyline photo
(photo credit)

How is this different from Rough Proportionality (RP)?

SIF is a different methodology with the same end goal of identifying the impact of a proposed development on the transportation system within the general vicinity of the project.

When is the SIF payment due?

Payment is due at time of building permit.

Some Key Points:

  • Maximum assessable SIF is equivalent to previously used RP maximum payment based on proposed development massing (Note: RP is now an outdated tool to determine the maximum project fee with SIF ordinance in effect)
  • SIF varies based on service area within City limits (total of 17 service areas), land uses, and associated density
  • Notable increase in SIF per unit for residential land uses
  • Developers should anticipate SIF to be revisited every five (5) years and plan for cost escalations accordingly

Will a TIA still be required?

Note: The information below is based on the draft of the updated Transportation Criteria Manual (TCM) and is subject to change.

For projects expected to generate 2,000-5,000 vpd, TIAs will be replaced by transportation assessment and Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan including sustainable modes analysis. Projects expected to generate >5,000 vpd will require a “traditional” TIA.

Learn More

Do you have questions about what the SIF costs look like for single family, multi family or commercial uses? We can help! Contact us today to speak with one of our engineers about your project.

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