The Point: Study provides basis to address impacts of trucks on Riverside County highways

Recognizing that the increasing number of trucks on Riverside County highways is a critical issue, RCTC approved a study that could pave the way for charging one-time fees for new warehouses in Riverside County. Any future fees collected would be used toward transportation improvements, such as auxiliary lanes at on-ramps and off-ramps or widening highways to mitigate the impact of highway truck traffic serving new  warehouse facilities in the county.

If a fee program is adopted, it would set a fee on new warehouses, based on facility size, to help pay for specific highway improvements.  Such a fee would be the first development-based fee in Riverside County to fund highway infrastructure. Existing development fees in Riverside County pay for local and regional roads.

A “nexus study” is required to validate  the amount and need for new mitigation fees imposed on new development.  As required by state law, the logistics nexus study took into account forecasted logistics growth and truck trips, highway capacity deficiencies attributable to new warehouse development, estimated project costs, and the proposed warehouses’ cost share of projects.  The study also compared development fee levels among nearby counties. 

Approval of the study does not mean a fee will be implemented. Establishing a fee program requires additional action by RCTC and local jurisdictions.

The study is a condition of a legal settlement reached in 2016 between RCTC, the County of Riverside, the City of Moreno Valley, and Highland Fairview, the developer of the World Logistics Center in Moreno Valley. RCTC and the County of Riverside filed a lawsuit against Moreno Valley and Highland Fairview in 2015 to challenge the Environmental Impact Report for the development. The 2016 settlement required each of the four parties to contribute $250,000 for RCTC to conduct to evaluate a logistics-related regional fee, including the fee structure and how a fee would be implemented.

As part of the settlement agreement, the developer also agreed to fund $3 million in improvements to Gilman Springs Road, an additional $3 million of project development work on State Route 60 and the Route 60 Theodore Interchange in Moreno Valley, and $200,000 for air quality and public health research efforts.

The RCTC Commission vote to approve the nexus study was 23 in favor and 3 opposed. The National Association for Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP), which represents commercial real estate developers, presented oral testimony in opposition to the study.