The purpose of most of the cooperative agreements was to establish a common understanding about the importance of an arterial to regional mobility, establish a mutual commitment to managing the corridor, and specify agency roles and responsibilities. Other purposes were to establish mutually acceptable standards for arterial management, obtain local or developer contributions toward highway improvements, improve state and local coordination in access permitting, and: promote uniform maintenance of highways. Public-private agreements generally involved access improvements, developer contributions, utility placement agreements, or financial partnerships.
As would be expected, agreements that involved specific improvements or actions were generally terminated with the completion of the project or action. Agreements that address ongoing considerations, such as access management, had no limit on duration. Termination in these situations was generally at the consent of the parties or if the agreement was violated according to certain conditions. Agreements that involve shared financial obligations or that primarily address financial considerations include a detailed statement as to which party (or parties) is responsible for bearing the cost of various portions of the agreement.
When asked what, if any, problems the agency has experienced when entering into corridor management agreements, most cited a lack of local government understanding of corridor management (54%), lack of agency leadership on corridor management issues (31%), and local/public opposition to corridor management in general (31%). With regard to implementing corridor management agreements, more than half (54%) noted a lack
of local adherence to commitments. Other common problems were legal and political concerns over implementing specific elements (23%) and the need for technical assistance (23%).
A variety of institutional, political, economic, and interpersonal factors were identified as potentially derailing the agreement process or causing an agreement to be unsuccessful. Institutional factors included bureaucratic resistance to long-term commitments, agency reluctance to assume a leadership or mediation role, and lack of internal cooperation across divisions. Political factors included turnover of elected officials, reluctance to adhere to prior commitments, intergovernmental competition, perceived inequity in the allocation of responsibilities and resources, growth/no-growth politics, or anti-government attitudes. A general lack of trust, personality conflicts, or even controversy over unrelated community issues can destabilize support for the agreement.
A common theme in developing effective agreements is that the tough issues need to be resolved through direct involvement of affected parties. Readiness to compromise, treating all participants as equal partners, and keeping all parties to the agreement apprised of substantive developments throughout the process were other suggestions from respondents and the literature. A related theme in current practice is the importance of establishing a shared vision of the corridor and for each party to look at the corridor as a whole-not just from within or outside of the right-of-way. The willingness of each party to work toward a common vision and to compromise for mutual benefit can form the basis of a lasting and effective agreement on corridor management.