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New Transportation Impact Fees will help pay for new infrastructure

City Council Update

In a presentation before the Tehachapi City Council at their Dec. 18 meeting, Public Works Director Don Marsh asked that the Council approve updated Transportation Impact fees. The city had contracted with the firm TJKM, Inc. in November of 2021 to prepare updates to the City of Tehachapi/ County of Kern shared Transportation Impact Fee Program for the greater Tehachapi area. The city had used funds available through the state (Local Early Action Planning-LEAP, Regional Early Action Planning-REAP) as well as Kern County traffic funds to pay for the study.

TJKM produced an updated traffic model for the city and county, taking into consideration anticipated, as well as, actual growth in the Greater Tehachapi area. Based on that model the company presented future traffic improvement projects. These projects were analyzed and costs for each projects prepared. The new fees would be applied to new construction permits only.

Marsh presented the new traffic impact fees that would apply within the City of Tehachapi. The theory is that new development should bear the expense that growth has on the city’s facilities. It is expected that the County will also adopt new fees.

TJKM recommended use of a Consumer Price Index escalation clause to account for the effects of inflation on construction costs and the city staff recommended adopting the escalation factors used for Los Angeles and Orange Counties. This resulted in keeping the Greater Tehachapi Area growth numbers in line with Southern California while remaining significantly lower. According to the study, the fees for the city core will increase from $2,952 to $3,671. The study recommended an increase for the county area of Tehachapi from $4,772 to $4,895 per equivalent swelling unit (EDU).

The City has 35 projects that were included in the new program. There were 18 road widening projects, nine new traffic signals/other intersection improvements, four roundabouts and four interchanges or ramp improvements.

In the absence of Mayor Michael Davies, the City Council voted 4-0 to adopt the Updated Transportation Impact Fee Program.

The Tehachapi City Council meets on the first and third Monday of the month at 6 p.m. They are currently meeting at the Police Department Community Room, 220 W. C St.