“TUMF” Love for Transportation in Riverside County

Temecula Promendate

A new Mobility Hub at Promenade Temecula marks the 100th “TUMF” project for the Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG).

The project includes shelters, benches, lighting, sidewalk upgrades and expanded room to park buses–all of which make the Promenade’s 150 shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues more accessible.  And with seven bus routes converging at the location, transfers are easier as well.  Cool beans. 

But the Mobility Hub was made possible by a $2 million contribution from WRCOG’s “TUMF” program. TUMF is the acronym for the Transportation Uniform Mitigation Fee, which is a locally-governed, region-wide fee to mitigate the cumulative transportation needs and impacts of new development. The program was initiated in 2003 and has collected $800 million to date.  The 100 completed projects include two bridges, twenty-two interchange projects, fifty-six roadway improvements, and several transit projects. (See a list, description, and photo of the first 85 projects here). 

Another noteworthy project (pictured below) Cajalco Interchange on Interstate 15–which includes a six-lane bridge and expanded ramps–that received approximately $45 million in TUMF funding.

TUMF funded interchange

That is 100 capital projects in just 16 years!  

TUMF is not your typical mitigation fee program. Recognizing that traffic knows no boundaries, the nineteen jurisdictions collaborated to avoid multiple and potentially uncoordinated fee programs across the region. The program is projected to raise a total of $3 billion for critical transportation infrastructure.  The anticipated build-out includes 3,100 lane miles of roadway, 47 interchanges, 10 railroad crossings, and 39 bridges. Funding is also available for regional transit enhancements and for open space. 

Key to the program’s success is its bottoms-up decision-making.  Funding decisions are made by the agencies that will actually build the infrastructure. Project eligibility was originally defined by the city and county public works directors.  Their findings were subsequently validated, quantified, and valued by a nexus study.  Implementation is governed by five Zone Committees composed of agency staff within each geographic sub-area, which decide project priorities within that zone. (See a map of the five zones with current projects here).  This process ensures that all agencies receive a fair share of the funding and have input on projects that will make a difference in their communities.

The fees are allocated as follows:

  • Approximately 48% goes to five zones for prioritized projects
  • Approximately 48% goes to the Riverside County Transportation Commission to use for regional improvements;
  • Approximately 3% goes to the Riverside Transit Agency for capital transit improvements;
  • Approximately 1% goes to the Western Riverside Regional Conservation Authority to purchase sensitive habitat.

According to Rick Bishop, WRCOG’s executive director, the program has also headed off potential disputes between neighboring jurisdictions.  “Too often in California cities sue each other when traffic impacts from new growth spillover local boundaries. But we have not had that problem. The TUMF Program creates a regional forum to have those discussions that are supported by resource allocations.  As a result, cities that might be affected by neighboring development can seek resources to address the problem.”

The Program is constantly innovating to meet the changing needs. Most recently, all affordable housing and accessory dwelling projects have been fully exempted from the requirement of paying the fee in recognition of California’s housing crisis.  Transit-oriented housing is entitled to reduced fees.  

In short, under the TUMF Program, nineteen jurisdictions have come together to address one issue they have in common across the region: traffic.  And they also get to fund many projects—like the mobility hub at the Temecula Promenade—that is making a difference in Riverside County. 

Elements of the TUMF Program Design

  • Development of the Program required collaboration and agreement from 19 jurisdictions and March JPA
  • All 20 participants adopted and use the same fee structure, creating uniformity across the region
  • Project decision-making occurs by jurisdictions and partner agencies (RCTC and RTA); WRCOG administers the Program
  • Funds are provided for sensitive habitat purchase to enhance quality of life
  • Funds are also provided for regional transit improvements
  • The new update allows developers to calculate and pay fees online
  • Additionally, the staff has also developed an interactive online TUMF Network map that provides member agencies the opportunity to determine whether their facilities are eligible for TUMF funding.

Interested in learning more about the WRCOG TUMF Program?

  • Click here to listen to the TUMF WRCOGcast (WRCOG podcast) episode.
  • Or, check out www.wrcog.us and navigate to the TUMF section.
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