At various times since 1995, DelDOT has proposed transportation-related impact fees on a state-wide basis to plan for, and equitably distribute, long-term costs of development-related transportation improvements.
New Castle County
New Castle County, Del., currently has two locations that operate as a TID in some respects—including the Churchman’s Crossing area and the Route 40 Corridor. While these locations came about through inter-agency agreements to study the area, neither location has a TID agreement or, currently, a fee. A TID was also established a voluntary program in Middletown, Del., as part of the Westown Master Plan, through a series of agreements with the affected land owners. Following a lengthy planning study, a Southern New Castle County TID was established in August 2014 for the area bounded by the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, US Route 13 and State Route (SR) 71, and a local road. DelDOT, New Castle County, and area developers entered into agreements to participate in the TID. Under this arrangement, developers will make payments through the County to DelDOT in lieu of doing a TIS and constructing off-site improvements.
TIDs have also been endorsed as a means of directing growth to specific areas where comprehensive, multimodal transportation system improvements may be developed. For example, Kent County’s Comprehensive Plan identifies eleven areas where TIDs are proposed as a means to develop “a more complete plan addressing a larger area for transportation improvements including road upgrades, interconnection of local roads, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities.” In addition, it suggests creating TIDs in combination with master plans that incorporate area-wide plans for infrastructure and transportation enhancements. Dover/Kent MPO’s 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan Update endorses the use of a TID “as a means of encouraging growth in specific areas where comprehensive, multimodal transportation system improvements may be developed as part of a master land use and transportation planning effort.”
Amendments to DelDOT Regulations that Expand TID Protocols
Effective May 10, 2013, DelDOT formally adopted amendments to its existing regulations regarding subdivision streets and state highway access that revise TIS regulations and expand TID regulations.
The regulations recognize that a TID may be created by an act of the Delaware General Assembly, an action of the Council of a MPO, or a TID Agreement between DelDOT and the relevant local government. Section 2.13 of the amended regulations explains how DelDOT and the local land use agency(ies) will work together to create TIDs and describes required/recommended elements necessary to establish, fund, and administer a TID.
The most significant change to the DelDOT regulations, which govern how the agency reviews access to state-maintained roadways, is the scope of the traffic study. The new regulations provide a rational, traffic-based method for determining study areas. While some unintended consequences have resulted from the new TIS regulations, such as excessively large study areas, DelDOT is proposing changes to allow flexibility to reduce the traffic study scope in such cases.
The expanded TID regulations were adopted to provide a more proactive and comprehensive approach. The process examines the need for long-range transportation system improvements on an area-wide basis, rather than a development-by-development basis. It is anticipated that TIDs will be an important tool in combining private and public financial resources to maximize a developing area’s transportation facilities. Ideally, TIDs should be proposed in conjunction with the development of an area-wide master plan, which provides more detailed planning for infrastructure than a local government’s comprehensive plan.