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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

What is a TSDC?
Who must pay TSDCs?
How are TSDC fees calculated?
Where can I find the TSDC rate that applies to my development?  Who ultimately determines my total TSDC cost?
Are there ways to reduce my TSDC obligation?
Are TSDC credits available and how are they determined?
Are TSDC exemptions available?
Can I give away or sell my TSDC credits?
What if I disagree with the amount of the TSDC my development is assessed?
When and how do I pay the TSDC?
What does the City do with the TSDC revenues it collects?

Q: What is a TSDC?
A:  TSDCs (Transportation System Development Charges) are one-time fees assessed to new development and changes in use.  The fee covers part of the cost of transportation facilities needed to serve new development and the people who occupy or use the new development.

Q: Who must pay TSDCs?
A:  You must pay a TSDC if you receive a building permit from the City of Portland for: 1) new development (other than remodeling) or  2) changes to existing buildings that create more than 15 percent new transportation trips above the previous use.

Q: How are TSDC fees calculated?
A:  The TSDC rate for each mode of transportation is based on the following:  1) the amount of money the City needs to collect over the next 10 years to build more capacity in the city's transportation system to accommodate growth-related trips (TSDC revenues pay for a portion of identified "growth-oriented" projects); 2) the projected amount of growth in households and employment over the next 10 years. 

To determine the TSDC fee you will pay, the TSDC rate is multiplied by the number of trips your proposed land use generates based on nationally compiled statistics.

Q: Where can I find the TSDC rate that applies to my development?  Who ultimately determines my total TSDC cost?
A:  See the rate charts. The Portland Bureau of Transportation is responsible for determining the cost. If your type of development does not appear in the chart, contact Richard Eisenhauer at (503) 823-6108 for more information regarding the TSDC.

Q: Are there ways to reduce my TSDC obligation?
A:  An "alternative calculation" process is available to applicants who disagree with their TSDC rate (or applicable credits or exemptions, explained below) for a particular development or class of development.  This alternative process requires the applicant to submit data for consideration by the City.  The TSDC program administrator has the ultimate decision whether to accept the data or not. 

Q: Are TSDC credits available and how are they determined?
A:  If you participate in building certain types of street improvements, or change the use of an existing building that reduces trips by more than 15 percent, you are eligible for a credit against your TSDC obligation.  For example, if you build all or any portion of an improvement that is included in the TSDC list of 43 capital projects, you will be entitled to a dollar-for-dollar credit against any future TSDC. 

You also will be eligible for a TSDC credit if you build an improvement to an arterial or collector street required as a condition of a development permit, provided there is measurable capacity beyond that which is necessary to serve the development.

Q: Are TSDC exemptions available?
A:  Any building permit issued by the City of Portland that is also subject to a TSDC or traffic impact fee for Washington County, Multnomah County or Clackamas County is exempt from payment of the Portland TSDC.  Permits for remodeling (with no changes in use) and changes in use of existing buildings comprising 3,000 square feet or less are also exempt.  Buildings between 3,001 and 5,000 square feet are assessed on a graded scale.  For example, a 3,500-square- foot building would receive a 75 percent discount and a 4,500-square-foot building would receive a 25 percent discount.  Exemptions also are available for low-income housing projects that meet affordability criteria and timelines.

Q: Can I give away or sell my TSDC credits?
A:  TSDC Credit Transfers can be issued by the City and can be transferred to other parcels or persons. The credits are good for a period of 10 years.

Q: What if I disagree with the amount of the TSDC my development is assessed?
A:  You have two options:  1) you can submit information showing that your development does not generate as many trips as shown in the City's rate study; or 2) you can appeal to the TSDC Administrator within 180 days of when your building permit was issued.

Q: When and how do I pay the TSDC?
A:  The obligation to pay the TSDC is established when your building permit is issued.  You have three options to pay:  1) at the same time the permit is issued; 2) in one payment, six, nine, or twelve months from the date of permit issuance with interest (deferral term based on project valuation); or 3) in monthly installments, with interest, over a period of five to 20 years. You will be required to make an irrevocable commitment to a payment option before the permit will be issued.  Whether you choose to defer payments or finance the TSDC over time, the City will file a priority lien against the subject property. There is a service charge for establishing the lien account.

Q: What does the City do with the TSDC revenues it collects?
A:  With extensive public input, the City has identified a list of growth-oriented, multi-modal transportation improvement projects that will guide the spending of TSDC revenues over the next 10 years. The list (Click here for rate studies with project lists), includes 43 projects at a cost of $414.5 million   About one-quarter of the projects' costs, representing that portion of new capacity projects that will serve new transportation trips, will be paid with TSDC revenues. The remainder of project costs will be paid with other revenues, in part because a portion of needed investments address existing transportation needs (and TSDCs cannot be used for those).  If the City does not collect as much money as anticipated, some projects will not be built or the City Council may choose to update and renew the project list. The City will ultimately determine which projects to fund as part of its annual Capital Improvement Plan process.