TRPA updates mobility fee to match transportation plan

Submitted to the Tribune

Fee for new projects encourages trip reduction, protects affordable housing

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. –The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board approved an update to a regional mitigation fee for new projects. The updated mobility mitigation fee will help offset new, in-basin vehicle trips with investments in traffic-reducing projects, the agency said today. The update replaces an air quality mitigation fee that has been in place for decades without annual updates for inflation.

The updated fee varies by the amount of new vehicle miles travelled generated by a project. Rates are now lower if a project is in a low-VMT area, such as a walkable town center or with access to transit. The change is an incentive for reinvestment in areas with more mobility options.

“We are seeing and living through extreme events and unprecedented threats brought on by climate change; improving regional mobility is critical to protecting Lake Tahoe and our communities,” TRPA Executive Director Joanne S. Marchetta said. “The ability of our partners to fund transportation improvements is incredibly important and having access to these mitigation funds helps match and leverage other funding sources.”

Mitigation is required only for new homes, commercial areas, or tourist accommodations and on some redevelopment projects, according to the agency. While growth in the basin is limited and allocated at a measured rate, project mitigation helps restore Lake Tahoe while balancing economic and community vitality. These fees will go back to local governments to help fund environmental restoration and transportation projects.

The approval includes an exemption for affordable and workforce housing projects, as well as a monitoring component to ensure the goals of the mitigation fee update are being met. The update will take effect January 26, 2022.


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