Most linkage programs raise substantial funds, though the specific amount depends on many variables, from the design of the program to the growth of the local commercial sector. Boston's linkage program produced $45 million between 1986 and 2000. San Francisco raised $38 million in linkage funds between 1981 and 2000.
Linkage program revenues are not only sizeable-they are also reliable. Unlike yearly appropriations that require annual, time-consuming campaigns to maintain or increase, linkage programs create a stable source of revenue that allows for better long-term planning.
While new commercial growth brings significant benefits to a locale, it can create pressures on the housing market in a number of ways. New jobs attract new residents, driving up demand and thus housing costs. In addition, a successful commercial development can increase surrounding property values, leading to higher property taxes that both burden current residents and price out many prospective residents. A linkage program can mitigate these effects by generating affordable housing resources in proportion to economic growth.
Traffic congestion and long commutes have become major problems in many metropolitan areas. They limit job options for residents who cannot afford to live near booming suburban job-growth areas and make recruitment and retention of workers much more difficult and expensive for employers. By providing resources for affordable housing construction specifically in job-growth areas, linkage programs have regional economic, transportation, and land use benefits.
Improving and increasing the affordable housing stock in a neighborhood can be the first step in turning a neighborhood around economically. Linkage fees can direct resources from a central business district to surrounding neighborhoods to support more equitable development.