MACo raises concerns with “indicators” attachment to transportation projects

In the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on March 11, MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson raised concerns with SB 760, a bill proposing to add more information ot submissions of major transportation projects. Among the relevant sections of the bill are these requirements:

(5) FOR A MAJOR CAPITAL PROJECT TO BE CONSIDERED FOR 5 INCLUSION IN THE CONSOLIDATED TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM, A REQUEST MUST BE SUBMITTED TO THE SECRETARY BY THE PROPOSING ENTITY ALONG WITH A PURPOSE AND NEED SUMMARY STATEMENT JUSTIFYING THE PROJECT THAT INCLUDES:

(I) THE LOCATION OF THE PROJECT, INCLUDING A MAP OF THE PROJECT LIMITS, PROJECT AREA, OR TRANSPORTATION CORRIDOR; AND
(II) A LIST OF THE PRIORITIES AND FACTORS CONSIDERED 12 IN PRESENTING THE PURPOSE AND NEED SUMMARY STATEMENT, INCLUDING:

1. THE PROJECT NECESSITY;
2. A DESCRIPTION OF HOW THE PROJECT MEETS STATE TRANSPORTATION GOALS;
3. A DESCRIPTION OF HOW THE PROJECT ADDRESSES OTHER STATE GOALS, INCLUDING THOSE IN THE STATE DEVELOPMENT PLAN AND IN THE CLIMATE ACTION PLAN AS REQUIRED UNDER THE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS REDUCTION ACT OF 2009 UNDER § 20 2–1205(B) OF THE ENVIRONMENT ARTICLE;
4. HOW THE PROJECT IS CONSISTENT WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAND USE PLANS;
5. POTENTIAL LAND USE CHANGES THAT SUPPORT THE PURPOSE AND NEED FOR THE PROJECT; AND
6. ANY OTHER INFORMATION THAT THE SECRETARY DEEMS NECESSARY TO EVALUATE THE PROJECT.

(6) THE DEPARTMENT SHALL RANK REQUESTS FOR MAJOR CAPITAL PROJECTS BASED ON THE STATE’S GOALS AND CRITERIA AS DETERMINED BY THE INFORMATION SUBMITTED BY THE PROPOSING ENTITY AND THE AVAILABILITY OF FUNDING.

MACo’s testimony raised concern about this “scorecard” approach, and warned that “one size doesn’t fit all” in assessing projects meeting differing local needs.

Following the bill hearing, Committee leaders indicated a desire for bill supporters and the Maryland Department of Transportation (who had supported the bill with extensive amendments) to work with local governments to address these concerns. MACo had also raised comparable concerns with the House cross-filed bill, HB 1155.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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