Q: What is a TSDC?
A: Whenever a new building is constructed in Portland, including a home, store, office, etc., the developer pays Transportation System Development Charges, or TSDCs. These are one-time fees paid by developers when they build something new. The fee covers part of the cost of building transportation facilities to serve development—things like roads, sidewalks and other facilities that get people to where they need to go. TSDCs also apply to redevelopment of existing buildings when that redevelopment will generate an increase in trips to and from the site
A: The fees pay for specific projects that are on the TSDC project list.
Q: Who pays and what kind of development is included?
A: TSDC fees apply to all types of development—residential, commercial, and industrial. Developers pay TSDC fees when they receive a building permit from the City of Portland for a new development, or changes of use to existing buildings that will increase the number of person trips to and from the site.
Q: How much do developers pay?
A: The fees are based on how many person trips a new development will create during the evening commute hour. For example, a single family home will have much less impact than a large grocery store, so the fee is substantially less for a home than for a grocery store. The greater the impact a new development will have on our transportation system, the higher its rate.
The City classifies developments into different land use categories. There are 27 land use categories—things like single family residential, multi-family residential, movie theaters, churches, hospitals, convenience stores, self-storage, etc. Each of these uses pay a different rate based on the number of person trips they generate.
What are overlay zones (North Macadam and the Innovation Quadrant)?
In addition to the Citywide TSDC, developers may pay additional fees when they develop in specific “overlay” zones. A TSDC Overlay is an additional TSDC that is charged only in, and for, that specific zone. Currently there are two overlay zones in Portland: North Macadam and the Innovation Quadrant. Fees collected from developers who build in the overlay zones will be used on transportation projects to serve future users within the boundaries of the overlay zone. You can learn about TSDCs for the overlay zones on the TSDC Rates Page.
Q: Can developers do anything to pay a lower or different fee amount?
A: Yes. Developers can submit information showing that their development does not generate as many trips as shown in the City’s rate study. The TSDC program administrator has the ultimate decision whether or not to accept the data. There are also certain credits and exemptions available in some instances.
Q: Are TSDC credits available and how are they determined?
A: If you participate in building a project that is on the TSDC list of capital projects, you may be entitled to a dollar-for-dollar credit against your current TSDC assessment.
Q: Are TSDC exemptions available?
A: Exemptions from TSDC assessments are: permits that will have a negligible impact on the overall trip generation of a site (by increasing the total number of PM Peak Hour person trips generated by the site by less than 15% and fewer than 25 trips); permits for remodels that do not change the use of a building; and changes of use within an existing building, when the entire building is under 3,000 square feet. Buildings between 3,001 and 5,000 square feet are assessed TSDCs 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: 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 PM peak hour person 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 time the permit is issued; 2) in one payment, six, nine, or twelve months of 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, 10 or 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: 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 or or David Nassif (503) 823-5586 for more information regarding the TSDC.