San Francisco residential builders face the possibility of fee 

Under a proposal being recommended by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, residential homebuilders could be slapped with new fees that opponents say would discourage development in The City.

The SFMTA is considering imposing Transit Impact Development Fees — a revenue-generating program that is currently only applied to commercial projects — on residential builders.

The SFMTA proposal would tack on $11,352 to all new homes with two bedrooms or more. One-bedroom and studio units would be slapped with an $8,531 fee, and senior housing tracts would cost an extra $5,676.

According to agency spokesman Paul Rose, expanding the TIDF program would generate $2 million to $5 million annually for the SFMTA, which is currently facing a $21.2 million shortfall. It is one of many revenue-generating ideas being floated by the agency.

Bruce Lyon, president of the San Francisco Association of Realtors, said the proposal would give developers one more reason to look elsewhere for residential growth possibilities.

“San Francisco is an expensive city, and this would just make it even more expensive to do business here,” said Lyon.

For private developers of large residential undertakings, such as the planned Hunters Point and Parkmerced projects, the costs would be tacked onto their final bill from The City. Those costs could wind up being passed on to homebuyers, who are already dealing with one of the most expensive housing markets in the country.

Established in 1981 by the Board of Supervisors, the TIDF program was aimed at mitigating the effects of major downtown developments on The City’s transit system.

In the 30 years since its creation, the TIDF program has funneled more than $100 million into the SFMTA’s budget for transit projects.

Tom Radulovich, executive director of Livable City, a transit advocacy organization, said the expansion of the TIDF program to residential development seems reasonable.

“There is a huge, huge need to address transit capacity issues here,” Radulovich said. “This would be way to fund those needs in a reasonable manner.”

PJ Johnston, spokesman for group behind the Parkmerced redevelopment that will introduce 5,679 new homes to The City’s southwestern neighborhood, said his group would need to find out more about the plan before taking a stance on it.

Ways to raise revenue

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is facing a $21.2 million budget shortfall. Here are some ideas that have been floated as ways to deal with that budget deficit.

Projected revenue
Redeploy parking control officers to improve citation revenue  
Establish a vehicle mitigation impact fee  
Establish a transportation utility fee  
Introduce a parcel tax for transit purposes  
Levy a fee for off-street commercial parking stalls  
Increase local sales tax for transportation purposes  
Expand TIDF program to residential developments  

Source: SFMTA

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