A new report from Smart Growth America reinforces the notion that dense mixed-use developments make fiscal sense, according to APA Policy News:
A new report released today found significant fiscal benefits for local governments and taxpayers from smart growth development.
The report published by Smart Growth America, Building Better Budgets: A National Examination of the Fiscal Benefits of Smart Growth Development, evaluated 17 studies from across the country comparing different development scenarios and projects. The results offer potentially significant insights for municipalities looking to improve fiscal performance and save taxpayer dollars.
Among the key findings based on the comparative analysis of local and state studies:
- Smart growth projects (defined as “more efficient use of land; a mixture of homes, businesses and services located closer together; and better connections between streets and neighborhoods) typically cost one-third less in initial infrastructure costs than conventional suburban development.
- Smart growth projects save an average of 10 percent on ongoing delivery of key municipal services.
- Smart growth projects generate 10 times more tax revenue per acre.
While the report acknowledges the need for further study, these results suggest that more compact, mixed-use, walkable and efficiently located development could provide important economic benefits for communities and residents. These comparative studies suggest that a smart growth approach to development can reduce costs while boosting local tax revenue.
The report urges local officials to rigorously evaluate development options and suggests that this kind of planning and development can be a critical strategy for not only the fiscal health of local governments but also long-term economic performance and prosperity for taxpayers. The “conventional suburban” model examined in the report in many cases proved to be more expensive to develop and maintain, and the report suggests could ultimately lead to higher costs for taxpayers.