Howard County’s recent submission of its transportation priorities to the state – an annual ritual for jurisdictions across Maryland – has attracted attention on process and priorities. The micro debate in Howard County is strongly reminiscent of the state legislative debate on HB 1013, a controversial statewide “transportation scorecard” bill that passed during the 2016 session.
Like other jurisdictions, the county outlines its priorities in a letter to the Maryland Department of Transportation for consideration in the state’s six-year capital budget for transportation projects.
New state recommendations called for clearer prioritization of projects in the letter, increased public input and endorsements from the Howard County Delegation and the County Council; both legislative bodies signed the letter despite reservations.
Some delegation and council members said it was unclear how the administration ranked projects and how a public survey on transportation priorities informed the county’s priorities, signalling the need to create a more clearly defined prioritization method next year.
Going forward, members of the delegation and the Council encouraged the administration to provide more information about how projects were ranked and continue to include both bodies in discussions. Delegation and council members also recommended including more inclusive methods to engage the public in setting priorities.