Regional Planning and Intiatives
With limited state, federal and local resources becoming scarce, regionalism is becoming more important as a way of pooling together planning and special projects to help improve communities at the local level. LDDs can help by assessing a community’s needs, target the most appropriate sources of funding and lead them through the process.
As the regional transportation coordinator, LDDs are the regional liaison between the counties they serve and PennDOT. Getting approved funding for improvement or construction of highways, bridges, rail, transit, bike, pedestrian and air projects is a very time consuming and detailed process. LDDs help make the process more manageable by preparing Transportation Improvement Plans, always weighing their regions’ needs and objectives against fiscal, political, and social realities.
LDDs have the latest software and staff expertise to help municipalities with projects requiring geographic information system technology. LDDs produce maps and datasets that meet a range of local needs including maps and data for resource management, transportation planning, infrastructure analysis, emergency response and site selection. Pennsylvania’s counties and municipalities have saved thousands of dollars by using this service.
LDDs are the leader in developing regional strategies and plans to help guide regional growth and change. The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy process is a way of gathering public input and prioritizing specific projects for targeted funding so that limited resources are focused on areas which need the most economic benefit.
Some LDDs have developed programs to specifically respond to opportunities and challenges in the individual regions they serve. Many LDDs have developed programs to assist entrepreneurs in establishing their businesses and others are leading efforts in the tourism industry to build trails, recreation and visitor service facilities by coordinating aggressive marketing campaigns and funding opportunities to move the industry forward. Three LDDs are Workforce Investment Boards that work to develop a world-class workforce development system which complements the Commonwealth’s overall education and economic strategy. One LDD owns and operates five short-line railroads that serve industries in the counties they serve.