Local communities are the backbone of Delaware’s economy and economic growth depends on a well-maintained transportation network that efficiently moves goods and people. While Delaware’s local governments are required to prepare comprehensive plans as blueprints for future growth and development, the state of Delaware plays a key role in funding transportation and in strategic management of the state’s transportation assets. Therefore, it is critically important to coordination local land use actions with state infrastructure and service delivery—including investments to the state’s transportation system.
Two concepts are being advanced in Delaware as strategies to better link land use and transportation planning—master plans and transportation improvement districts (TID). The Guide for Master Planning in Delaware describes a master plan as “a land use plan focused on one or more sites within an area that identifies access, general improvements and needed infrastructure, and intended to guide growth and development over a number of years and in phases.” A master plan is not constrained by local government boundaries. It is more detailed than a comprehensive plan and includes commitments from infrastructure and service providers that facilities will be funded and in place when needed.
A TID is defined as “a geographic area defined for the purpose of securing required improvements to transportation facilities in the area.” The purpose of a TID is to comprehensively coordinate land use and transportation within a specific geographical area. TIDs are designed to achieve fair-share mitigation of transportation impacts. They provide a funding mechanism to secure required, long-term improvements on a “fair-share” basis from developers to fund transportation infrastructure and facilities within that area.
In addition, TIDs can be an effective funding mechanism to ease land development pressures and prepare targeted growth areas for market-ready (re)development. A TID can attract investment to an area targeted for growth and (re)development by expediting preconstruction phases and leveraging state and federal funds for improvements to state-owned transportation assets.