136-66.2.  Development of a coordinated transportation system and provisions for streets and highways in and around municipalities.

(a)        Each municipality, not located within a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) as recognized in G.S. 136-200.1, with the cooperation of the Department of Transportation, shall develop a comprehensive transportation plan that will serve present and anticipated travel demand in and around the municipality. The plan shall be based on the best information available including, but not limited to, population growth, economic conditions and prospects, and patterns of land development in and around the municipality, and shall provide for the safe and effective use of the transportation system. In the development of the plan, consideration shall be given to all transportation modes including, but not limited to, the street system, transit alternatives, bicycle, pedestrian, and operating strategies. The Department of Transportation may provide financial and technical assistance in the preparation of such plans. Each MPO, with cooperation of the Department of Transportation, shall develop a comprehensive transportation plan in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 134. In addition, an MPO may include projects in its transportation plan that are not included in a financially constrained plan or are anticipated to be needed beyond the horizon year as required by 23 U.S.C. 134. For municipalities located within an MPO, the development of a comprehensive transportation plan will take place through the metropolitan planning organization. For purposes of transportation planning and programming, the MPO shall represent the municipality's interests to the Department of Transportation.

(b)        After completion and analysis of the plan, the plan shall be adopted by both the governing body of the municipality or MPO and the Department of Transportation as the basis for future transportation improvements in and around the municipality or within the MPO. The governing body of the municipality and the Department of Transportation shall reach agreement as to which of the existing and proposed streets and highways included in the adopted plan will be a part of the State highway system and which streets will be a part of the municipal street system. As used in this Article, the State highway system shall mean both the primary highway system of the State and the secondary road system of the State within municipalities.

(b1)      The Department of Transportation may participate in the development and adoption of a transportation plan or updated transportation plan when all local governments within the area covered by the transportation plan have adopted land development plans within the previous five years. The Department of Transportation may participate in the development of a transportation plan if all the municipalities and counties within the area covered by the transportation plan are in the process of developing a land development plan. The Department of Transportation may not adopt or update a transportation plan until a local land development plan has been adopted. A qualifying land development plan may be a comprehensive plan, land use plan, master plan, strategic plan, or any type of plan or policy document that expresses a jurisdiction's goals and objectives for the development of land within that jurisdiction. At the request of the local jurisdiction, the Department may review and provide comments on the plan but shall not provide approval of the land development plan.

(b2)      The municipality or the MPO shall provide opportunity for public comments prior to adoption of the transportation plan.

(b3)      Each county, with the cooperation of the Department of Transportation, may develop a comprehensive transportation plan utilizing the procedures specified for municipalities in subsection (a) of this section. This plan may be adopted by both the governing body of the county and the Department of Transportation. For portions of a county located within an MPO, the development of a comprehensive transportation plan shall take place through the metropolitan planning organization.

(b4)      To complement the roadway element of the transportation plan, municipalities and MPOs may develop a collector street plan to assist in developing the roadway network. The Department of Transportation may review and provide comments but is not required to provide approval of the collector street plan.

(c)        From and after the date that the plan is adopted, the streets and highways designated in the plan as the responsibility of the Department of Transportation shall become a part of the State highway system and all such system streets shall be subject to the provisions of G.S. 136-93, and all streets designated in the plan as the responsibility of the municipality shall become a part of the municipal street system.

(d)       For municipalities not located within an MPO, either the municipality or the Department of Transportation may propose changes in the plan at any time by giving notice to the other party, but no change shall be effective until it is adopted by both the Department of Transportation and the municipal governing board. For MPOs, either the MPO or the Department of Transportation may propose changes in the plan at any time by giving notice to the other party, but no change shall be effective until it is adopted by both the Department of Transportation and the MPO.

(e)        Until the adoption of a comprehensive transportation plan that includes future development of the street system in and around municipalities, the Department of Transportation and any municipality may reach an agreement as to which existing or proposed streets and highways within the municipal boundaries shall be added to or removed from the State highway system.

(f)        Streets within municipalities which are on the State highway system as of July 1, 1959, shall continue to be on that system until changes are made as provided in this section.

(g)        The street and highway elements of the plans developed pursuant to G.S. 136-66.2 shall serve as the plan referenced in G.S. 136-66.10(a). (1959, c. 687, s. 2; 1969, c. 794, s. 3; 1973, c. 507, s. 5; 1977, c. 464, s. 7.1; 2001-168, s. 1.)