Managing Growth With Priority Funding Areas: A Good Idea Whose Time Has Yet to Come

Priority funding areas (PFAs) are an important instrument in Maryland's growth managment strategy. PFAs direct state spending to areas designated by local governments and reviewed by the state government. This paper examines the adoption, implementation, and performance of PFAs in Maryland in order to evaluate their efficacy as instruments for managing growth. The authors describe the statutory definition and mandated role of PFAs in state funding. They also discuss the process used to create PFAs, the resulting pattern of targeted growth areas, the relationship between PFAs and local comprehensive plans, and the extent to which PFAs altered state spending. The effects of PFAs on residential development patterns are examined. Findings indicate that PFAs have not met expectations. There is little evidence that they have had any effect on development patterns. The criteria used to establish PFAs produced boundary configurations that vary widely and are in many cases not ideally suited to managing urban growth. Ten years after their official designation, PFAs are not well integrated in land use decision making processes in many local jurisdictions. State agencies also have not altered budgetary systems to monitor and guide the spatial allocation of funds.


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  • Accession Number: 01145119
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 25 2009 7:46PM