Special assessments are a traditional means of financing public facilities and have been constitutionally or statutorily authorized and implemented in each of the 50 states. As an exercise of taxing powers, special assessments must be authorized specifically by a state either through enabling legislation or through constitutional provision.
The following generic special assessment district legislation was prepared for NCHRP Project 2-14, Public/Private Partnerships for Financing Highway Improvements and is taken from NCHRP Program Report 307. Although it dates from 1986 (making some sections dated), this sample legislation combines many features which have been used successfully across the United States and will be helpful for municipalities considering special assessments.
Sample Special Assessment Act.pdf (46 KB), which would be enacted by a state government to grant municipal and county governments the authority to create special assessment districts.
Sample Special Assessment Ordinance.pdf (25 KB), which would be enacted by a local government to create the special assessment district.
Virginia HB 2671 Special transportation/taxing district.
This act creates a special transportation/taxing district, modeled on the existing Route 28 District, to provide a means of financing an extension of commuter rail service from the East Falls Church Metro Station to the vicinity of Dulles Airport. Applicability of the act is limited to Fairfax County and towns therein.