Local Studies Inform National Analysis of the Public Costs and Benefits of Smart Growth Development: New Report Quantifies Average Fiscal Impact of Better Development Strategies

WASHINGTON, DC Towns across the country are looking for ways to balance their budgets and better development strategies could help them do that.

New analysis released today by Smart Growth America quantifies how much municipalities can save, on average, by using smart growth development strategies. The report also examines how much revenue smart growth development generates compared to the alternatives.

“Over the years plenty of towns and cities have compared the costs and benefits of different development scenarios,” said William Fulton, Vice President of Policy Development and Implementation at Smart Growth America, “and there’s near universal agreement among those studies that smart growth benefits public finances. Today’s report is the first time anyone has collected those studies and determined how much other communities can expect to save by using smart growth strategies.”

Building Better Budgets: A National Examination of the Fiscal Benefits of Smart Growth Development surveyed case studies from across the country that compare the costs and benefits of smart growth development with conventional suburban development. The report finds:

  1. Smart growth development costs at least one third less for upfront infrastructure construction.
  2. Smart growth development saves taxpayers at least 10 percent on ongoing delivery of services.
  3. Smart growth development generates 10 times more tax revenue per acre than conventional suburban development.

“For us the choice was clear,” said Rick Bernhardt, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County (TN) Planning Department. “We were either going to get back the money we put in, or we were going to drain our budget for the next 50 or 60 years. Why would any financially responsible leader make that choice?”

“Smart growth strategies can help local leaders to save money and raise revenue, and that can help keep taxes low and balance a budget,” said Geoff Anderson, CEO of Smart Growth America. “Municipal leaders everywhere can use this information to make informed decisions about development in their region.”

Read the complete report at http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/building-better-budgets.

Smart Growth America is the only national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for and leading coalitions to bring smart growth practices to more communities nationwide. From providing more sidewalks to ensuring more homes are built near public transportation or that productive farms remain a part of our communities, smart growth helps make sure people across the nation can live in great neighborhoods. For additional information visit www.smartgrowthamerica.org.

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