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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Transportation Corridor Preservation: A Survey of State Government Current Practices

May 2000

Corridor Preservation Activities

Formal State Program

States: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, and Wisconsin

Informal State Program

States: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, Northa Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming

Limited State Program

States: Hawaii, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington

Corridor Preservation Activities

This research documents the most recent corridor preservation activities at the state and local levels. The term "corridor preservation," or CP, refers to any techniques that state and local governments use to protect existing transportation corridors or planned corridors from inconsistent development, in an effort to minimize negative environmental, social, or economic impacts. Corridor preservation tools might include, but are not limited to:

  • annexation or development agreements (land owner agreements)
  • regulating the use of such land (land use regulations)
  • acquiring property rights within a corridor (land acquisition)

For this research effort, we contacted each of the 50 states and numerous metropolitan planning organizations to find out about their most up-to-date activities on corridor preservation. Our findings show that there is tremendous diversity in programs and activities and that several creative and cutting-edge projects are under way. To better understand the wide range of activities, this study uses three categories to describe state and local corridor preservation efforts:

  1. Formal state program. States in this category usually have legislation that authorizes their departments of transportation to actively pursue corridor preservation. In many cases, there is also set-aside funding to support these activities.
  2. Informal state program. These states have no formal state-level program, but the state works aggressively with localities to encourage corridor preservation activities through the use of local planning tools (zoning, permitting, platting, etc.).
  3. Limited state program. No formal state level program exists among these states; most, if not all, corridor preservation efforts are initiated and implemented by the localities, with little state involvement.

Note that this categorization is designed only to describe CP efforts and is in no way intended to judge the effectiveness of various programs, or to gauge the level of activity in one state relative to another state. For example, a state's local governments may be very active in corridor preservation while state-level CP programs are limited. States with growing populations tend to fall in this category. Conversely, a state may have legislation and formal structures, but not be particularly active in corridor preservation because the state is not planning to expand or build new roadway. This pattern often characterizes states that have peaked in population. The remainder of this report describes in greater detail the three types of corridor preservation efforts. A table listing each of the surveyed states by category is included in the Appendix.

Formal State Program

States in this category have relatively aggressive corridor preservation policies and often have legislation or established program guidelines, and in some cases a budget line item, that calls for corridor preservation activities. Policies vary from state to state, but many states in this group have a formalized, cooperative check-and-balance program with their localities. For example, Nebraska has legislative authority through its mapping powers to preserve 300 feet on either side of an alignment. The state department of transportation (DOT) works with localities and the public to determine which corridors should be identified as priority corridors for preservation. After priority corridors are identified, they are filed with all permitting agencies so that when a local agency receives a permit request for construction along preserved alignments, it must submit the permit to DOT for approval. The DOT has 60 days to accept or deny the request for development. The state and local government may also negotiate an agreement with the permit applicant so long as the agreement maintains the integrity of the corridor. If the permit request is ultimately rejected, then the state has 180 days to acquire the property.

Most of the variation among states in this category lies in how states determine priority corridors and how the policies are implemented. Nebraska heavily relies on its localities to negotiate agreements with developers to preserve rights-of-way (ROW). In Wisconsin, in comparison, its legislation is similar to Nebraska's in that there is an administrative rule mandating that any new land recording (consolidation, platting, etc.) along a preserved corridor must be approved by the state. But coupled with this rule is a statewide mandate that localities conduct corridor studies to identify priority corridors and address preservation issues. These studies have largely emphasized access control and management as a tool to implementing corridor preservation. In other words, Wisconsin relies on local plans that designate access control and management to prioritize and implement their corridor preservation efforts.

Informal State Program

Most states that fall into this category are new to corridor preservation and tend to pursue it through their localities. Maine is a good example of a state new to corridor preservation. Maine's legislature recently initiated an East-West Highway study that would expand two-lane highways to four lanes across the state and into New Brunswick, with the goal of improving commerce with Canada. The study found that the demand would not warrant the tax expenditure and that upgrading the existing two-lane roads would suffice; it recommended that the state consider some corridor preservation in lieu of expanding all the highways. Specifically, the state should look at access management, ROW acquisition, and limited-access highways. In this survey, we have found that it is not uncommon for states to initiate corridor preservation because of fiscal constraints such as those in the Maine example.

As noted, states in this category commonly work with localities on corridor preservation. In Utah, the state cannot pursue corridor preservation in its own right because it has no legislation authorizing such activities and it needs an environmental impact statement prior to purchasing right-of-way. Instead, the state identifies corridors it wants to protect and then asks cities to use their zoning powers and other land use tools to preserve the corridors. Cities in the state have agreed to cooperate, but not enough time has passed to determine the effectiveness of this strategy.

Limited State Program

States with limited programs are characterized by their lack of structure--and in many cases lack of funding--to deal with corridor preservation issues. In Washington, for example, the state is fiscally constrained because the legislature recently cut the DOT budget by one-third. This has dramatically limited the state's ability to pursue corridor preservation. For instance, in working with Oak Harbor (located near a naval reserve) the DOT can only afford to assist the community in identifying alternative funding sources needed for their corridor preservation plan. Oak Harbor seeks to identify ROW lines and growth boundaries for the city and essentially implement a CP strategy; it has not received any funds as yet. In lieu of funding, DOT is now working with Oak Harbor on designing aggressive setbacks that address the hilly terrain.

Another example is Hawaii, where there are very few cases in which advanced acquisition is used. The state will only acquire property if there is strong assurance that the corridor will be developed and/or expanded and where the landowner has expressed concerns about the ROW. Corridor preservation tools are used on a case-by-case basis and they are rarely utilized in Hawaii.

Examples of Implementation Challenges

Most states noted that legal and monetary constraints are among the major limitations to implementing corridor preservation. Several states have designed creative policies and programs to overcome these limitations. Michigan is one notable example. Michigan is currently studying M-59, a corridor running between Lansing and Detroit that is growing uncontrollably. The state wishes to preserve this corridor, but does not have legislation or the funds to support such an effort. In order to access federal funds, an alignment must be definitively determined and an EIS must be submitted and accepted. This entire process typically takes upwards of three years.

Michigan devised a strategy that preserves the corridor through a tiered Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) approach that maintains the right-of-way and allows a widening of the roads within a shorter period of time. Tier 1 requires a draft and final EIS that identifies the corridor and to what extent other land uses (wetlands, residences, etc.) will be impacted. This represents 70% of the work required in an EIS, but its advantage is that it allows the county or city to acquire land ahead of schedule and preserves the corridor before a final EIS is approved (which can take years). Tier 2 repeats Tier 1 with updates on how people and places will be affected and includes the final design.

Michigan also established a revolving loan fund (a combination of state and federal funds) that is used for advance acquisition and hardship purchases. This fund is tapped into regularly to buy critical parcels as they become available.

There are other limitations beyond laws and budgets. Oklahoma, for example, was in the process of conducting an outer-loop study that would help identify which alignment around Oklahoma City would have the smallest impact. The outer loop was part of the state plan and had been on the map for 20 years. All of the affected cities supported the loop study and had agreed to split project costs. However, while the study was being conducted, misinformation and misinterpretation of the study's purpose spread throughout the metropolitan area, generating bad publicity. As a result, residents organized and forced the state to downscale the project, limiting it to an extension of a planned turnpike. The opponents were mostly rural residents who feared that the new corridor would bring "city elements" into their communities. The state learned that long-range transportation planning requires a significant amount of public information and community involvement from the outset.

Formal State Program

State Legislation Budget Allocations Corridor Selection Process/Implementation Tool

Arizona DOT
Chuck Eaton

DOT does not have legislation that authorizes CP, but does have a process that heavily involves the localities. In 1985, they conducted concept studies to prioritize corridors and identify their footprints. They established the "red letter" process so that when localities get rezoning or platting requests along an alignment, they send a letter alerting the DOT of this request.

In 1985, the state passed a $.005 sales tax on gas to pay for advance acquisition. This tax generates $5 million/year for ROW purchases mostly in the Phoenix area.

The DOT has established and utilized the infrastructure bank (supported by ISTEA and TEA-21) for strategic purchases. In addition, the DOT has borrowed $100 million from the State Treasury balance to be paid back in one year with interest to complete key projects.

The DOT works with and relies on the localities to use their land-use tools to preserve ROW and to keep development costs low. Some cities have agreed to higher density or impermanent structures in order to preserve an alignment.

California DOT
Mitchell Baker

A 1991 law known as SB 1784 was passed to preserve 13 major corridors. The law also establishes a process for evaluating corridors for future preservation consideration

$25 million was allocated and is accrued from the rental, lease or sale of land owned by the DOT.

A three-part application process determines eligibility of a corridor. A commission of DOT officials oversees the selection process.

Connecticut DOT
David Labossiere, ROW

A 1993 law prohibits the sale of state-owned land (most purchased in late 60s/early 70s) unless the land is developed or the project is canceled. The law also allows the state to make advance acquisitions if funding is available. The legislation was passed in response to land use pressures and to alleviate hardships placed on property owners from fear of eminent domain.


Advance acquisition when funds are available.

Delaware DOT
Raymond Richter

No specific legislation authorizes CP, but there is funding set aside through a line item in the capital improvements budget to obtain access rights, acquire land, or negotiate with developers, etc.

The DOT often enters into formal cooperative agreements with counties that stipulate that on any development or traffic-impacting project on high priority corridors, the county must obtain state approval before beginning construction.

The capital improvements budget allocates funds to obtain access rights, acquire land or negotiate with developers.

The state is active in land-use planning and has a transportation plan that includes all the highways. On the high priority corridors, they are working with counties and property owners (through voluntary agreements) to coordinate their activities, consolidate access, and do advance acquisition.

Gerald Kennedy

Iowa DOT
Harry Budd

The state has legislation that allows DOT to prioritize and preserve its corridors. If there are plans to develop within those preserved corridors, then the local agency must notify DOT. DOT has 30 days to respond to development permit request. If DOT denies the permit request, it must buy the property on which the development was proposed. A preserved corridor is only in effect for 3 years; it must then be extended.


State works closely with local governments beginning from the early stages of the planning process before a corridor is designated for preservation. Localities cannot approve permits, change zoning, or subdivsion plats along designated corridors without DOT approval.

Kansas DOT
Chris Huffman

No specific CP legislation exists, but there are state statutes that allow DOT Secretary to purchase land in advance.

State has a Corridor Management Program that addresses rapidly growing areas and involves a 4-part process: (1) research and recommend the preferred corridor improvement; (2) establish partnership through an Memorandum of Understanding with localities so decisions are made jointly; (3) formally adopt a corridor master plan (a contractual document) with the localities; (4) implement the plan through the Corridor Management Fund (the implementation arm)

The funding is part of the transportation program and no set-aside pot of funds exists.

Once the ROW is agreed upon, DOT sets up the acquisition schedule. At this time, DOT also works with localities in setting up land-use regulations. It is critical that the localities enforce the land use regulations because DOT cannot afford to purchase the entire ROW at once.

Maryland DOT
Don Schieb

No legislation exists, but in the early 1980s the state established a corridor preservation team that meets regularly to deal with access management and ROW issues. They work closely with local agencies to determine priority corridors. To date, only US 301 is designated for preservation and US 50, MD 404, and MD2/4 for access control.

Funding is provided in the Consolidated Transportation Plan to purchase property along US 301.

The State Highway Administration established and oversees the corridor preservation team. This team uses the local development process and works with local governments to achieve corridor preservation and access management goals.

FHWA - Jim Kirschensteiner
517.377.1880 x41

Michigan DOT
Paul McAllister

State does not have legislation that allows for corridor preservation. Instead, the DOT is trying to preserve corridors through a tiered Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) approach.

Tier 1 requires a draft and final edition that identifies the corridor and to what extent others (wetlands, population, etc.) will be impacted. This is 70% of the work required in an EIS, but its advantage is that it allows the county/city to acquire land ahead of time and preserves the corridor before a final EIS is approved (which can take years). Tier 2 repeats Tier 1 with updates on how people and places will be affected and includes the final design.

State currently has a revolving loan fund (a combination of state and federal funds) that is used for advance acquisition and hardship purchases. This fund is tapped into regularly and could use more money. It currently has $20 million and is used to buy critical parcels as they become available.

A county or city can acquire land ahead of time using a tiered environmental process. The acquisition preserves the corridor before a final environmental impact statement is approved.

Missouri DOT
Bob Michael

State has legislation that allows DOT to file CP plan that identifies priority corridors. DOT is notified of all developments sought along these corridors and the state has 120 days to approve the development, negotiate the project, or buy the property. The statute is not used much outside of St. Charles County because it only applies to counties that have zoning.


When a property along one of the priority corridors is up for rezoning or platting, the zoning board will notify DOT and property owners, and DOT will comment on the plans. Usually, the comments become part of the authorization for development. If they are not incorporated, then DOT may acquire the affected property. In these cases, the district must determine where the funds will be drawn from before making the purchase.

Nebraska DOT
Frank Blandenau

State has had corridor protection law since 1974. DOT uses its mapping power to preserve 300 feet on either side of an alignment. DOT files the corridors with all permitting agencies so that when a local agency receives a permit for construction along this alignment, it must submit the permit to DOT for approval. DOT has 60 days to accept or deny the request. If it is rejected, then DOT has 180 days to acquire the property.

Acquisitions are state funded, but there is no set-aside pot of funds for this legislation.

DOT usually does not have to acquire property because the owners usually agree not to built on the preserved corridor. For example, Omaha has a main highway (Dodge Street) that is growing rapidly on its west side with apartments and shopping malls even though it is under protection. DOT allowed them to build because the owners agreed to keep the corridor as an outlot until DOT acquires the land.


New Hampshire Municipal Association
Bernie Waugh

State has 1990 Corridor Protection Law that allows units of government to pursue CP by designating a corridor for preservation. When a developer seeks a permit, the affected government agency has 60 days to: (1) allow the developer to proceed with the project (the government must then compensate the developer for any improvements made on the property when they purchase it); (2) purchase the property immediately; (3) buy a temporary development restriction on the property that can wholly or partially restrict development on the corridor for 10 years.

New Hampshire has many highways that are no longer used because of population loss. In an effort to preserve some of its corridors without having to continually invest in them, the state, in 1945 created Class 6 Highway status, which maintains the public ROW after no public investments have been made for 5 years on the highway.


The Corridor Protection Law is described as a 10-year moratorium that the government agency pays to keep undeveloped.

The Class 6 statute allows the state to maintain public ROW without having legal or financial responsibility to do this.

Tony Bowers
919.856,4336 x127

The Map Act, passed in late 1980s, authorizes the state and cities to file a corridor for protection. Once filed, any request for development along that corridor can be delayed for up to three years. The local agency must negotiate an agreement with the developer or acquire the property within three years. A map is filed only after an EIS is drafted and construction is imminent.

No set-aside potof funds exist. The funds for the two existing CP projects are taken "off the top" of the DOT budget.

Usually, the localities do not acquire the property. Most advance acquisition has been for hardship purchases.

There are two projects where the state has pursued advance acquisition: Interstate I540 around Raleigh and the "outer-outer" loop around Charlotte.

Oregon DOT
Dick Reynolds

State pursues CP through active planning process that is mandated in state statutes. The statutes establish ODOT and its cooperative role in working with metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) and localities on transportation issues in a planning process. State statutes also mandate that MPOs and localities must develop their own transportation plans that are consistent with ODOT's plans.


State and MPOs use all types of tools (landowner agreements, land use regulations, and acquisition) to enforce CP. Through the planning process, it is easier to get public agreement and compliance with CP efforts. They use planning as a way to obtain "buy-in" before going through the EIS process.

Ben Orsbon

State is trying to get more authority from legislature in controlling highway access. The bill seeks rule-making authority for access management--e.g., width design, signal design, median design, access process, construction process, and safety. To get the bill passed, they must assure localities that the intent behind the legislation is not to supercede local zoning and land-planning authority.

State statutes mandate that before a plat can be approved by a city or county, they must notify adjacent highway owners (either the state or themselves in most cases), but not all localities have been abiding by this so DOT is seeking to highlight this statute.


The state has started preserving some corridors through land purchase agreements and covenants. It Is buying access rights on some corridors, particularly those where the most development is taking place

Wisconsin DOT
Roger Cupps

The state is active in CP through its corridor studies. The studies are used by the state and localities that have to enforce the corridor preservation. Most localities have followed the corridor studies' recommendations, but turnover in local government has created some issues.


Their CP strategy largely emphasizes access control and management, using the following tools: (1) land acquisition; (2) development moratorium; (3) Trans 233 - an administrative rule that mandates that any new land recording (platting, consolidation, etc.) along the corridor must be approved by the state; the rule also mandates that no private access to state highways is allowed and establishes setbacks where no improvements can take place; (4) permitting process

Informal State Program

State Legislation Budget Allocations Corridor Selection Process/Implementation Tool

George Ray

State has transportation map which is used to guide cities as they develop/update their zoning maps; cities are the only government agencies with zoning authority (with the exception of one county).

Corridors on the transportation map are prioritized by the amount of Congressional funding is allocated to the corridor. All CP projects to date have had matching federal and state funds.

The state does a considerable amount of land acquisition, particularly advance acquisition at strategic locations. Currently the state is focused on two projects: (1) 30-mile loop around Montgomery; (2) 15-mile loop around Birmingham.

DOT is working with Birmingham's county on CP. The county does not have zoning authority, but can deny water and sewage to the new development. This is a tool they have used to discourage development along that corridor. DOT has purchased areas where current access already exists to protect from further development.

Arkansas DOT
Paul Simms

Arkansas DOT
Jim Gaither

State has a master street plan that most developers follow assiduously because they don't want to have to relocate businesses and residents when the corridors are reconstructed. So, CP is often exercised when the state designates a line on the map that warns developers of an anticipated roadway.

There is no state-level land use plan; the only protection the state has is a driveway permit. The state can withhold permits for up to one year. There is no legislation on this, but it happens in practice.


Some cities and counties take it upon themselves to withhold permits around corridors. Little Rock, for example, has withheld zoning and building permits for CP reasons in a south corridor that has remained undeveloped thus far. The city also has a master street plan that defines corridors within its planning boundaries (three miles beyond the city limits). The master street plan specifies roadways, curb cuts, walkways, bikeways, etc., that developers must follow.

Colorado DOT
Philip Demosthenes

The state does functional preservation, or preserves a highway for the purpose of maintaining capacity. The state does very little advance acquisition, but as in the cases above, the localities will do it instead. The state will, through an MOU (a semi-binding agreement) with localities, assert that it fully intends to develop a corridor if the locality acquires the land.

The state also works with localities on access control. There are 10 active access control plans, or cooperative agreements between the state and various localities on signals, access, and safety guidelines.

No budget allocation for CP, but Colorado recently passed a $1.7 billion bond for highway rebuilding around the state, and particularly around the southern end of Denver. No new miles will be built, but they will expand or widen existing highways.

Corridor preservation in the state happens mostly at the local level. Two examples stand out:

The county/city of Colorado Springs obtained ROW over many years along Powers Boulevard (south of the city). Once enough land was assembled, they appealed to the state to obtain and develop it. Similarly, Layfayette used its subdivision approval process to preserved ROW for a bypass. Once DOT had enough money, it bought and developed the land.

Florida DOT
Rob Magee

CP is implemented at the local level. State statutes mandate that localities have comprehensive plans with growth management guidelines. Most CP efforts are described in these growth management plans.

The state used to have an aggressive CP plan in which it would acquire properties 20 years prior to development. This changed 3 years ago after a court case (Leisure Properties vs. DOT) ruled that such CP efforts were considered takings. The state now spends 40% of its project funds on ROW costs (including paying for business damages).


Some localities are particularly active. One example is Palm Beach County, where the court ruled in the county's favor on CP. Wright vs. Palm Beach County determined that if a corridor is in a comprehensive plan, then advance acquisition is permissible and not considered a taking.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
John Carr

There is state legislation that allows the localities to pursue CP and acquire land in advance if the locality funds the effort. The state will reimburse the locality if the project is approved.

One unique project is a 5-lane highway where the state conducted a corridor management study about 4-5 years ago. The study helped the affected localities design access points and determine adjacent land uses. The state paid for the study.

Localities pay for CP and get reimbursed by state if project is approved.

No locality has taken advantage of this legislation because it is too costly. There are no guarantees that the project will pass NEPA requirements to obtain the state funds.

Maine DOT
Carl Croce

The legislature initiated an East-West Highway study that would expand 2-lane highways to 4 lanes across the state and into New Brunswick, on the assumption that it would improve commerce with Canada. The study found that the demand would not warrant the tax expenditure and that upgrading the existing 2-lane roads would suffice. Instead, the report recommended the state pursue CP through: access management, ROW acquisition, and limited access.


The state has one pilot project (Route 9 near Bangor) where it is implementing the CP techniques. It hopes to find out the costs and consequences before expanding CP efforts to the rest of the state.

Minnesota DOT
Cecil Selness

No specific law exists for CP. The legislature is reviewing a new transportation budget that involves some CP allocations. (It is the first time in 8 years that legislators have sought an increase in funds for transportation.)

The Twin Cities area has a revolving acquisition loan fund that is available through the Metropolitan Planning Council. Funds can be used statewide for ROW, but funds are limited.

Major tools employed include: access management, corridor management, and land acquisition. State also works with local governments that are located along the affected roadway to determine reasonable costs, zoning, and land use.

Mississippi DOT
Kim Thruman

In 1987, the state passed legislation to upgrade roadways from 2 to 4 lanes. In the early 1990s, the state passed new legislation allowing DOT to purchase land in advance to continue this upgrading.

No funding is set aside for ROW acquisition.

Roads are prioritized based on DOT analysis and then recommended to the commissioner who has final approval on advance purchases.

Montana DOT
Ivan Ulberg

Montana DOT
Dick Turner

No state legislation exists that specifically allows CP. The state's Multimodal Plan indicates that more CP would be pursued, but that funding is limited and no land-use planning takes place at the state level.


The Great Falls MPO is a city/county planning organization that is responsible for annexation, rezoning, and subdivision review and gets involved with land acquisition. The MPO has been using landowner agreements, land use regulations, and other tools to implement CP; it has not acquired any land yet, but may in the future.

New Jersey DOT
James A Pivovar

The commissioner of transportation has authority to acquire property in advance.

There is only one corridor, called Flemington bypass, where the state is preserving ROW and has been for the last 10 years. It is in the draft EIS stage. The state filed this alignment on its preservation map and can acquire properties along it when development "presses" the alignment.

(Note: Some CP legislation does exist at the state level.)

There are no set aside funds for advance acquisition. It competes for funds along with all other transportation projects.

No other corridors are preserved because, legally, they have to prove that the transportation project is imminent. They prove this by drafting an EIS. DOT has a map with longer-term projects on it, but this map does not give the commissioner authorization to begin to preserve these corridors as none of them are considered imminent projects.

The state is not building a lot of new highways because it is largely urban and is already built up. CP is not used for the expansion of existing roadways.

North Dakota DOT
Jack Olson

State is looking at maintaining efficiency. It is in the process of determining how to identify priority corridors for future transportation enhancements. The process will involve looking at issues such as connectivity (particularly along high-volume border crossings) and servicing intermodal facilities (airport, rail, grain elevators, etc.).

Other projects under way include seeking funding to accommodate truck movements and considering a multi-state project for "living snow fences" (trees). The state also submitted an application and was awarded funding to develop a model planning project to improve movement across the border on I-29 and US 52/US 281.


No advance acquisition under way because there is no funding available for it. Also, the state is not really growing, though there are population shifts from rural to urban. In addition, economic changes are increasing truck traffic across the state. Most of the existing roads can accommodate the shift in demand; but in the Fargo-Moorhead area, the state is expanding where it already controls ROW.

Oklahoma DOT
Sam Shehab

State is working on an outer-loop study that would help identify an alignment with the smallest impact. The outer loop is part of the state plan and was on the map 20 years ago.

Cities, through the MPO, wanted the loop study and are splitting project costs.

Word of the study got out while it was being conducted was widely misinterpreted --generating lots of bad publicity. As a result, residents, particularly in the rural areas, got organized and forced the state to downscale the project. The study is not yet complete.

The state learned that when it comes to long-range planning, the key is to get public involved early in the process to get public awareness of projects.

Utah DOT
Walter Steinvorth

The state cannot pursue CP on its own because it has no legislation that authorizes such activities and it needs an EIS to buy ROW. Instead, the state identifies corridors it wants to protect and then asks cities to pursue CP through zoning and other land control tools. Cities have agreed to cooperate, but enough time has not yet passed to determine its effectiveness.

The state has one new law that addresses hardship cases. It was motivated by the state's plan to acquire property along US 89. The state had an EIS and was ready to start development, but no funding was available, thus creating a hardship for the property owners who could not sell their homes. The legislation authorizes state funding of the acquisition of hardship cases through a tax on rental cars.

There is a tax on rental cars to enable purchase of hardship cases.

Key efforts to rethinking transportation and CP in the state are under way.

"Envision Utah," a public-private partnership, was initiated to look at land-use issues across the Wasatch front. They were running models and looking at 4 land-use scenarios that took into consideration the consequences for air quality, land use, other environmental impacts. Their finding was that in all of the four models, there is still a need to invest in the existing transportation infrastructure.

Light rail between Sandy (on the south) and Salt Lake began operation last month. Ridership was higher than expected. Another line running from the university to other parts of the city and eventually the airport is to be completed in time for the Olympics in 2002. The success of light rail is making residents and policymakers rethink their opposition to dense development.

Wyoming DOT
John Lane

The state considered pursuing CP, but found that with NEPA requirements, it would be too expensive. It also feared that identifying a corridor for preservation would adversely affect land value and the state would have to acquire the property almost immediately. The state only purchases land within 5-6 years of development.

The state does not have land-use tools. Instead, it works with, and relies on MPOs and localities to identify priority projects and pursue CP.


Currently there is a project in Cheyenne in which the MPO identified a transportation corridor and worked with the landowners to abide by the corridor guidelines. There is disagreement between the affected parties (MPO and landowners), so everything is on hold.

Limited State Program

State Legislation Budget Allocations Corridor Selection Process/Implementation Tool

Hawaii DOT
Ronald Tsuzuki

Advanced acquisition is used in very few cases. The state will acquire property if there is some relative assurance that the corridor will be developed/expanded and where the landowner has expressed concerns. It's on a case-by-case basis and it rarely takes place.

State does have a master plan, but only with conceptual new roads; it does not have an implementation plan.


The state is usually brought into a development project when there are plans for development adjacent to a state highway. It is usually a county that brings it to the state's attention, and even then, it's usually at the request of the landowner proposing a development or change in land use. In these instances, the state will recommend setbacks, but these recommendations cannot be enforced because there is no authority to do so. Property owners have largely observed these recommendations.

New York DOT
Steve Munson

State works with local governments on access management to protect ROW for future local roads or bypasses. DOT supports local government in rezoning and expanding the functionality of its roads by looking at the impact of state roads on localities and the implications of local traffic on cities. State also helps develop transportation agenda that is consistent across government levels.


State uses ROW acquisition to protect existing corridors for future widening. In extremely rare cases, acquisition is used to protect planned corridors, but it is rarely done because few new roads are planned or built.

ffice of Chief Counsel
Bill Cressler

A section of the state's Municipalities Planning Code deals with cities' ability to designate an official map, the means by which corridors are preserved. A city can preserve a corridor by designating it on its official map, but it is only preserved for 1 year from the official map date.

The state also has a highway law (1945 recodified) that provides for the designation of "ultimate highways," an ultimate ROW where the land can be used (like a setback), but the state will not pay for any improvements on the ultimate ROW when purchasing it. The State Supreme Court ruled in 1966 that DOT is correct in that they are not prohibiting landowners from building on their land (not a taking). However, the Court ruled that DOT must pay for any improvements on the ultimate ROW.


Very few municipalities have official maps because of the 1-year preservation time limit, and many fear it's a taking. Amendments are being sought to extend the time line or begin the 1-year countdown when a permit/plat is requested.

Texas DOT
Ed Collins,

Texas DOT
Gabe Johnson,

State does not have explicit CP program; no legislation or formal program exists. State does have law that allows cities to require a dedication of 180 feet for its ROW.

Most advance acquisition is limited to hardships such as along Interstate 10 west of Houston where about 40 miles of the highway is being expanded and widened.

State is also looking into access management as a CP strategy.


Local communities have asked developers to donate or sell their property at a reduced cost. In exchange, developers get better access. In Cedar Park for example, lots of developers have agreed and donated most of the ROW required. Also, adjacent to Cedar Park is state-owned land so DOT carved out part of it for the roadway.

Virginia DOT
Erik Johnson

DOT does not have the ability to preserve a corridor until the corridor is approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. The Board approves the State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) which includes the interstate plan and compilation of the metro areas' TIPs. There are 10 TIPs in the state and each TIP must be approved its respective MPO. DOT works with Board and MPOs on technical aspects of projects and oversees the planning and development processes.


CP is mostly a local effort and the state is fairly limited in supporting CP efforts. For instance, Henrico County (Richmond area) set aside land for a bypass to complete a loop. Key residents opposed the corridor, so it was built farther west-- where more development was planned, but it created a "dog-leg" in the loop. There was nothing the state could do in this case. The County, still owning the land, built up the corridor as a parkway road and it has been used as a business strip rather than as a highway.

John Lancaster

Dave Jack

The problem in this state has been underdevelopment. Generally, the state doesn't acquire any land except when actual construction is taking place.


There are no special techniques used for CP. CP is partly addressed when the state designs limited-access roadways.

Washington DOT
Jerry B. Schultz

Not much CP activity taking place because state is not in a fiscal position to do much as they recently passed legislation which eliminated 1/3 of their budget. It's been 30 years since the state has done any aggressive acquisition. Since that time, environmental legislation has evolved to a point where the some of the state's previously designated corridors are no longer desirable as corridors (e.g., they're flood plains or wetlands). The state owns the land and has had to alter development plans to accommodate these environmental concerns.


DOT works with localities if they are approached. For example, 2 years ago DOT started working with Oak Harbor (near naval reserve) to submit a STIP regional application for funding. The funding would be used to identify ROW lines and growth boundaries for the city and essentially implement a CP strategy. Oak Harbor has not received any funds yet. In lieu of funding, DOT is now working with the city on aggressive setbacks that address the hilly terrain.

Updated: 9/5/2014
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