MaineDOT does not currently have a formal CSS program. However, that does not mean that exciting things are not happening here in Maine with respect to CSS.
We are near ready to launch a policy tied into a new capital local match requirement and have initiated a new scoping process intended to better define projects before they are funded and undertaken. Based on the Department's Strategic Plan, the Capital Work Plan contains several funding programs aimed at linking land use and transportation in ways that add value. Municipalities may apply for small grants to assist with transportation planning; they may apply for funding to assist them with meeting their local match requirement. We have created a "Roads for Jobs Program" and an access acquisition fund. MaineDOT's Bureau of Planning is the source for more information on these efforts.
We have developed some projects with context sensitive elements and our Bureau of Project Development is about to release guidance to its designers regarding Flexible Design Standards. Our Office of Passenger Transportation is developing a Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy linking the Sidewalk and Shoulder policies.
We have a state law called the Sensible Transportation Policy Act (STPA) enacted in 1991; it required development of a rule adopted in 1993. That rule does identify some elements of what we now know as CSS but at the time were referred to as "Transportation Enhancements". The law and rule also required the Department to engage the public at all levels of the planning and project development process. That application/integration of the rule has been evolving for the past 12 years and is now becoming a matter of general practice.
We continue to work on amendments to the STPA rule that will link its state and MPO related transportation planning/project development processes to the local comprehensive planning process of the state's Growth Management Act. Those rule amendments are intended to reduce local reliance on the state and state aid highway network (i.e. reduce VMT by promoting compact, mixed use land patterns; fostering alternative modes) and to provide access to a financial incentive program to those communities that elect to follow the planning and development guidelines we are currently developing. The rules are being closely coordinated with the State Planning Office; they administer the state's Community Planning and Land Use Regulation Act which is undergoing changes as well.
We recently launched a 100-mile NHS corridor strategic planning process involving 21 communities within four counties. We call it "Gateway 1"; it is also known as Midcoast US Route 1. Maine has no regional decision making framework. Locals have home-rule authority for land-use-related matters and DOT is responsible for managing transportation systems. This process, based on a 21-town agreement that sets out the process, the roles and responsibilities, and the high priority community and region-wide issues. Our Steering Committee has met twice, the sub-regional work groups of three to four communities will be meeting to make recommendations to the steering committee. Abutter communities to the corridor are being invited to provide comment at certain steps along the way. The DOT has created a multi-disciplinary, multimodal project management team to guide the project and we have hired a consulting firm to conduct the process.
With an agreed upon scope, the consultants have good direction on what corridor elements to inventory and analyze; once accomplished, the Steering Committee will help frame future direction into a corridor-wide Vision from which objectives and strategies will be developed. One important element of this planning process is the notion that this is hoped to be a fully integrated (mutually sustainable) transportation/land use strategic (twenty-year) plan. In other words, if the communities envision Gateway 1 as a rural two-lane highway, their land-use management system must coincide. If the communities want interspersed villages along the highway to be enhanced with transportation amenities, they will have to show that the investments we make will not be "undone" by lack of appropriate land-use standards. Once the plan is accomplished, some sort of binding agreement will need to be created to ensure that each stakeholder will follow through with its assignments; otherwise, it won't work. As you can imagine, getting to this point will be relatively easy compared with the development of some sort of local/regional/state agreement to follow through! A Gateway 1 conference is planned in early May 2006 to begin exploring options for shared governance agreements and other best practices for linking land use and transportation activities.
CSS Contact: Kathleen B. Fuller, AICP Director, Environmental Office Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) 16 State House Station Augusta, Maine 04333-0016 Phone: (207) 624-3100 Fax: (207) 624-3101 Kat.Fuller@maine.gov