Apple spars with Cupertino, Calif., mayor over strained city infrastructure

Apple’s new ‘spaceship’ campus project prompts questions about whether the company should pay more to offset traffic woes.

May 10, 2016 |

Apple's new campus. Rendering courtesy City of Cupertino

The construction of Apple’s new $5 billion campus in Cupertino, Calif., has raised tensions over whether the company and other large employers should pay more in taxes to local communities to help offset their impact on local infrastructure.

Many people in Cupertino have begun to organize and focus on Silicon Valley’s aging transportation networks. Frustrated by traffic and noise, some residents want to stop further development. Traffic woes have been occasionally worsened by temporary road closures related to Apple’s new headquarters construction.

Apple paid $9.2 million in taxes to Cupertino from 2012 to 2013, according to a report in the Guardian. In the 2012 fiscal year, Apple tallied $156.5 billion in sales. The city gives Apple an annual tax break on business-to-business sales that started in 1997, when Apple was on the verge of collapse, the Guardian reported.

Cupertino Mayor Barry Chang, who has butted heads with Apple over the issue, says the high-tech giant should pay more taxes to the city, but doesn’t want to see limits on new development for fear that they could harm the regional economy.

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