On November 18 before the Maryland General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR), MACo testified alongside public works representatives from the County Engineers of Maryland and Cecil, Queen Anne’s, Prince George’s, and Harford counties that the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT)’s proposed Major Transportation Project Scoring and Ranking System regulations could have implemented the Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act of 2016 in a more reasonable manner.
From MACo’s written testimony:
Traditionally, the Department seeks each jurisdiction’s proposed projects in the month of April. The spring of 2017 will be the first cycle in which this scoring system is used. In advance of that deadline, all parties should fully understand the scoring system and its weightings, and the information sought from local governments to inform that process.
A set of well-conceived regulations, and any accompanying implementing documents, are essential tools toward making any scoring system effective. MACo and local public works professionals look forward to a collaboration with MDOT on the entire effort ahead.
Moving forward, MACo staff committed to working with MDOT and other stakeholders on refining the scoring process so that it results in fairer outcomes to all 24 counties.
Following a recommendation by Senator Steve Waugh, House Co-Chair Samuel “Sandy” Rosenberg concluded the hearing by requesting that MDOT, MACo and other stakeholders convene and pass along recommendations to the Committee by December 8 to make the process more closely resemble Virginia’s Smart Scale system. Smart Scale is Virginia’s recently implemented system which scores major transportation projects for funding prioritization using a sophisticated, objective scoring matrix. MDOT Secretary Pete Rahn indicated that he did not think that the Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act enabled implementation of a scoring process in a manner similar to Virginia’s system, and the only way that outcome could be achieved was by repealing the Act and starting all over.