Following last year’s political firestorm over how the State should prioritize transportation spending, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) has new plans for scoring major projects in its Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP) – and MDOT Secretary Pete Rahn will unveil that draft plan and solicit input from county officials first at the MACo Winter Conference.
County elected officials and transportation professionals surely remember the story well. The Maryland General Assembly entertained legislation officially called the Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act of 2016, which requires the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) to score its major capital projects according to a predefined set of goals and measures and rate them accordingly in its CTP. MACo opposed the bill, citing concerns that it may marginalize local input, overlook variations in transportation needs, and undervalue safety in project approval. The bill passed, with some amendments offered by MACo. The Governor vetoed it, and the General Assembly overrode the veto.
A series of letters sent over the 2016 summer sought to transfer responsibility for the law’s implementation to the counties. The Attorney General’s Office issued a letter advising that the new law does not authorize this. MACo sent MDOT a letter offering support on developing a collaborative approach to implementing the law and drafting the regulations required by it.
MDOT published draft regulations implementing the law in September 2016 – regulations that MDOT Secretary Pete Rahn himself called “bad.” MACo offered detailed recommendations on how the Administration could instead interpret the law in a manner that is fairer to all Maryland counties.
Governor Hogan made it his top legislative priority last session to repeal what he called “The Roadkill Bill.” Reiterating concerns about the original scorecard legislation, MACo supported House Bill 402/Senate Bill 307, the Governor’s “Road Kill Bill Repeal” – advocating for either its full-on repeal, or its refinement. The General Assembly passed the legislation in an amended form that clarifies that the use of scoring from the statutory system will be purely advisory, while a designated work group convenes to consider refinements to its elements and effects. It also loosened requirements for the scoring system.
Since then, MDOT has been working hard to develop a new scoring model, which is due under the new law on January 1, 2018. MDOT Secretary Pete Rahn will unveil the draft model at MACO’s Winter Conference at a special workshop designed to solicit county officials’ input. This not-to-miss session presented by the County Engineers of Maryland offers county personnel the first opportunity to weigh in on the next chapter for Chapter 36.
Title: Workshop: An Overview of the New Transportation Scoring Law
Description: This past session, the General Assembly passed significant changes to the Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act of 2016, aka the “Scorecard Bill,” “Chapter 36,” “Transportation Transparency Bill,” or the “Roadkill Bill.” This law of many names was significantly changed to be non-binding and to give MDOT more flexibility in how it scores major highway and transit projects in its capital program. Since then, MDOT has been working hard to develop a new scoring model and invites conference attendees to actively participate in the process.
Speaker: Pete Rahn, Transportation Secretary
Moderator: John Barr, MACo Past President, Washington County Commissioner
The MACo Winter Conference will be held December 6-8, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland. This year the conference’s theme is “The Power of Partnership.”
Learn more about MACo’s 2017 Winter Conference: