MACo To Governor: Please Sign Highway User Restoration

This session proved a pivotal year for highway user revenue restoration.

Both the House and Senate agreed early on to provide local governments their first multi-year commitment in nearly a decade to bring back some of the local transportation funding that was decimated by about 90 percent in 2010. By passing SB 516/HB 807, the General Assembly has assured that most counties will see an increase in their total transportation funding by more than 40 percent, all the way through fiscal 2024 – assuming Governor Hogan allows the bill to become law.

To that end, MACo sent Governor Hogan a letter thanking him for his efforts to provide additional transportation funding to local governments, and requesting that he sign the bill into law. From that letter:

This bill – a top initiative of MACo’s – codifies an important step toward restoration of highway user revenues to Maryland’s counties, municipalities, and Baltimore City, for five years beginning in fiscal 2020. SB 516/HB 807 begins to address counties’ long-standing top fiscal priority. It provides reliable formula funding for multiple years, allowing counties to program their capital projects accordingly. ….

The cumulative loss of local roadway investment since fiscal 2010 is well over $3 billion.

Again, Maryland’s counties are deeply grateful for your efforts in providing additional transportation funding for local governments. Please take this one last step before the conclusion of your first term, and sign into law Senate Bill 516/House Bill 807, Transportation – Highway User Revenues – Distribution.

Investing in local roads was a key initiative of MACo’s this session.

Helpful Links

MACo’s Letter to Governor Hogan

County Highway User Revenue Breakdown (FY19)

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Road Funding

Highway User Revenues – What’s On The Table?

Counties Call For A Local Infrastructure Fast Track

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The Finally, Final County-by-County Transportation Aid Breakdown

Thinking_Face_EmojiWe love the Department of Legislative Services’ Two-Year Charts. But, counties shouldn’t start budgeting all of the highway user revenues allotted there for fiscal 2019 just yet (unless they are Baltimore City, Baltimore County, or Howard County – they can go ahead). That sum includes the municipalities’ share, as well.

For a final county-by-county breakdown of transportation aid, with the muni share excluded and including the most recent capital grants added through the Governor’s supplemental budget, click here

 

State Proposes Spending $70M from Transportation Fund on P3

Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 18, the Board of Public Works considers granting an award of $68.5 million from the Transportation Trust Fund for the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT)’s Traffic Relief Plan, its massively-scaled public private partnership (P3). MDOT has selected a contractor team made up of Parsons, JMT, and HNTB to:

provide fully integrated support, guidance and oversight to the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) Public-Private Partnership (P3) Office in delivering the I-495 and I-270 P3 “Traffic Relief Plan”.

Last September, Governor Hogan announced his Traffic Relief Plan to add four new lanes to I-270, the Capital Beltway (I-495), and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (MD 295). The anticipated $9 billion plan for these three major state highways is touted to reduce congestion for millions of drivers.

At the time, MDOT indicated that it intended not to use the Transportation Trust Fund to pay for the ground-breaking public-private partnership (P3). In fact, the original Request for Information states:

The desire of MDOT would be that any private agreement not require a financial
contribution directly from the Maryland Transportation Trust Fund and that the
agreement would provide a concession payment to MDOT upon financial close.

However, the item on tomorrow’s Board agenda calls for 100 percent of the $68.5 million award to come from the Transportation Trust Fund. The Agenda Item suggests that the sum will, at some point, be paid back to the Trust Fund:

The scope of services will include developing and implementing a new and innovative P3 project delivery strategy driven by continuous market collaboration and feedback to ensure best value and that the I-495 and I-270 “Traffic Relief Plan” is delivered at a “net-zero” cost to the Transportation Trust Fund.

The winning team includes HNTB. Notably, MDOT Secretary Pete Rahn served as Senior Vice President of HNTB for five years before joining the Hogan Administration as Secretary of Transportation in 2015, according to The Daily Record (story behind firewall). According to that article, the Maryland State Ethics Commission has advised Secretary Rahn that no conflicts of interest exist with his active involvement in the P3 procurement and management.

CEAM Spring Conference, May 2-4 – Registration Now Open

Join the County Engineers Association of Maryland (CEAM) for their spring conference in CEAM_ColorSolomon’s Island this year! This year’s conference is at the Holiday Inn Solomon’s  – Conference Center and Marina from Wednesday, May 2 to Friday, May 4.

Back by popular demand, the spring conference, once again, is extended to a multi-day format – complete with the opportunity to earn over 6 Professional Development Hours, learn about how the 2018 session affects public works professionals from MACo Associate Director Barbara Zektick, and network with other county engineers while boating and fishing for rockfish in the Chesapeake Bay and Patuxent River.

Learn more, peruse the agenda, and register online on CEAM’s website. For questions, contact CEAM 2nd Vice President and Conference Chairwoman Danielle L. Conrow, P.E.

A Century of Innovation: Celebrate with WSSC

wsscJoin WSSC on May 1, 2018 for the WSSC Water Symposium: A Century of Innovation. This event focuses on the future of innovation in the water industry and recognizes WSSC’s 100 years of service. You will hear from WSSC GM/CEO Carla Reid and other industry leaders, as well as experts in energy, resource recovery and technology.

Highlights include four, interactive panel discussions about the latest innovations, current research and what’s on the horizon. Topics include smart water technology, adapting to climate change, resource recovery and WSSC’s upcoming Bio-Energy Project.

We look forward to this dynamic event designed for water industry professionals to come together to learn, discuss and collaborate. Let’s share best practices and develop partnerships to provide the residents of the National Capital Region with life’s most precious resource. A Centennial reception will immediately follow the program.

 

Review the agenda and register at https://www.wsscwater.com/symposium

Round-up of the 2018 Session for Counties

MACo’s legislative efforts earned an 80% success rate – and as usual, the counties’ voice makes a difference in Annapolis. Bills we support are more likely to pass, and bills we oppose are more likely to fail.

2018 Legislative Results Infographic

MACo’s legislative initiatives, priorities, and positions are directed by its Legislative Committee. This body comprises elected representatives from all of MACo’s members – the 24 county jurisdictions (including Baltimore City).

The “one county, one vote” system of deciding the Association’s legislative strategies, ensures that all counties have an equal voice. All 24 jurisdictions participated regularly in the weekly meetings throughout the session – where they also engaged with policy leaders and advocates who joined the meeting to address county leadership.

Our policy staff have compiled updates and results on all of the bills the Legislative Committee decided to take action on this year.

For the 2018 End of Session Wrap-up for each subject MACo covers, click below:

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Assessments and Taxation

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Business Affairs

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Disparity Grants

2018 End of Session Wrap-up: Economic Development Tax Credits

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Education

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Elections

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Employee Benefits & Relations

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Environmental Legislation

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Finance and Procurement

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Government Liability & Courts

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Health & Human Services

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Housing & Community Development

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Intergovernmental Relations *MACo Initiative Area*

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Parks & Recreation

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Pensions

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Planning & Zoning

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Property Taxes

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Public Information & Ethics * MACo Initiative Area *

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Public Safety and Corrections

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Road Funding * MACo Initiative Area *

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: School Construction * MACo Initiative Area *

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: State Budget & Fiscal Affairs

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Tax Sale Bills

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Transportation and Public Works

2018 End of Session Wrap-up: Wynne Tax Bills

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: County Tax Revenues

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Other Tax Bills

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Transportation and Public Works

MACo is committed to securing funding and resources that help maintain county roads and ensure the safety of county residents. The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s work in the area of transportation policy in the 2018 General Assembly. 

Follow links for more coverage on Conduit Street and MACo’s Legislative Database.

Rebuilding Roads Through Complete Streets

Push Icons-WONMACo supported legislation that creates a competitive grant program that makes Transportation Trust Fund dollars available to local governments for the planning and design of Complete Streets projects.House Bill 535 and Senate Bill 407 provide additional local transportation aid to local governments and continues a commitment to local roads specifically to transform the transportation network into one which prioritizes pedestrians, cyclists, and transit passengers as highly as it prioritizes cars. The bill passed through both houses and awaits the Governor’s signature. Bill Information | MACo Coverage

Safety in Special Event Zones

Push Icons-NOT IDEALHouse Bill 1406 and Senate Bill 872 would have authorized counties to designate certain areas as “special event zones” on their roads, set lower speed limits within those zones, and enforce those lower speed limits in an effort to protect pedestrians in the vicinity of an event taking place. MACo supported this legislation as it is a tool in counties’ toolboxes to keep their residents and visitors safe during special events. Unfortunately, while House Bill 1406 did pass the House, it failed to receive a hearing in the Senate. Senate Bill 872, which was amended to be Worcester County-specific, did pass and awaits the Governor’s signature. Bill Information | MACo Coverage

The Light Was Still Yellow!

Push Icons-IMPROVEDMACo originally opposed legislation which required a traffic control signal at an intersection to display a yellow light for at least four seconds if the signal is monitored by a red light camera. However, the bill was amended in the House to require conformance with federal and state law and engineering standards, allowing MACo to drop its opposition. The bill passed both the House and the Senate, and awaits the Governor’s signature. Bill Information | MACo Coverage

Water Affordability Programs

Push Icons-WONMACo supported legislation that would authorize counties to implement and bolster water affordability programs in their communities. This bill helps homeowners avoid going to tax sale over unpaid water bills by addressing the problem long before those bills become overdue. In addition, enabling water shut off to vacant and abandoned properties helps keep water bills at bay at properties where the service is not being used or may even cause harm by flooding or otherwise deteriorating a vacant structure. Senate Bill 709 and House Bill 923 passed through both chambers and they await the Governor’s signature. Bill Information | MACo Coverage

Push Icons-IMPROVEDMACo originally opposed House Bill 598, which would have created a statewide scheme for enforcing parking spaces set aside for plug-in electric drive vehicles. Counties had concerns that the bill would unwisely limit enforcement options. However, the sponsor offered amendments that addressed county concerns, and allowed MACo to drop its opposition to the bill. Nevertheless, the bill received an unfavorable report from the House Environment and Transportation Committee and did not advance. Bill Information | MACo Coverage

For more on transportation and public works-related legislation tracked by MACo during the 2018 legislative session, click here.

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Road Funding

Below is a brief overview of MACo’s work to restore county roads funding that was cut during the Great Recession.  

Follow links for more coverage on Conduit Street and MACo’s Legislative Database

Highway User Revenues

For more than forty years, local governments have received at least 30 percent of these revenues to fund local roads and bridges – 83 percent of the public road mileage in Maryland. In 2010, the State reduced highway user revenues by 90 percent for most jurisdictions – and local governments have advocated for restored highway user revenues ever since.

Push Icons-WONIn 2018, the General Assembly passed legislation to provide counties, municipalities, and Baltimore City with additional highway user revenues for five years beginning in fiscal 2020. HB 807 / SB 516 as amended will provide approximately $30 million more than in fiscal 2018to Maryland’s 23 counties, with additional funding for Baltimore City. Bill Information | MACo Coverage

For more information, see a County-by-County Breakdown of Additional Local Transportation Aid.

This year, as in years past, MACo continued to support legislation that would fully restore highway user revenues to their previous levels. As in recent years, however, the General Assembly did not advance these bills.

Push Icons-NOT IDEALSenate Bill 901/House Bill 1569 “Local Infrastructure Fast Track for Maryland Act,” a MACo initiative for the legislative session, did not pass out of committee in either chamber. This bill would have fully restored highway user revenues, enhanced auditing provisions, required the State to share any windfall of infrastructure funding from the federal government with local governments, and called for an assessment of the state of local infrastructure. Bill Information | MACo Coverage

For more information about the various bills introduced, see MACo’s coverage, What’s Up With All These Highway User Bills?

Click here for a round up of the wrap-ups for all policy areas

Connected Vehicles 201: Training Offered 5/16

The Intelligent Transportation Society of Maryland (ITSMD) is offering the training workshop, Connected Vehicles 201, on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 from 8 am to 3pm.

ITSMD, in collaboration with the State Highway Administration (SHA) and U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), are targeting the training for local government transportation planners, engineers and managers, as well as those working at the state level. The training will be held in the OOTS Training Room at SHA’s Hanover Complex. It is free for public sector employees and offers at least five Professional Development hours. However, seating is limited to the first 70 registrants.

The purpose of this U.S. DOT course is to help transportation agencies that are beginning to plan implementation of a connected vehicle (CV) environment. The overall goal of the course is to teach participants how to develop an action plan in collaboration with regional partners to improve readiness for CV deployment.

Participants will learn more about the safety, mobility, and applications and will gain an overview of three CV pilot sites in Wyoming, New York City, and Tampa. They will also learn how to identify funding sources for CV projects. They will be made aware of recent activities supported by the ITS Joint Program Office and resources available from the CV research program sponsored by the U.S. DOT.

The workshop will also include a presentation by SHA updating attendees on the status of the CV initiatives, pilot and research projects being undertaken in Maryland.

Confirmed speakers for this course are:

Ray Murphy, ITS Specialist, US DOT/FHWA
Shawn Kimmel, Lead Associate, Booz Allen Hamilton
Joseph (Joey) Sagal, Director, Office of CHART & ITS Development, SHA
Steve Kuciemba, Vice President & National ITS Practice Leader, Advisory Services, U.S. WSP, Formerly: WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff
Tom Jacobs, Director, Center For Advanced Transportation Technology, University of Maryland College Park, MD

Lunch will be provided.

Click here to register.
 
For questions about this event, please contact Liz Parrish.

Location & Time:
MDOT SHA
OOTS Training Room
7491 Connelley Drive
Hanover, MD 21076

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
8:00 AM to 3:00 PM EDT

Agenda: 
8:00 AM to 12:00 PM – USDOT CV 201 Course
12:00 PM to 12:30 PM – Lunch
12:30 PM to 1:00 PM – USDOT Training Wrap-up, Questions, and MDSHA Training Set-up
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM – MDSHA-Specific Connected Vehicle Training

Pricing: 
Public Sector/Retired: FREE
Private Sector ITSMD Member: $15.00
Private Sector Non-ITSMD Member: $30.00
Full-time Students are FREE

For more information about member organizations or becoming a member of ITS Maryland, please visit www.ITSMD.org.

 

A U.S. Department of Infrastructure?

What if, rather than an infrastructure bill, the President’s administration created an entire department of infrastructure? That’s what Forbes‘ contributors Ellis Talton and Remington Tonar suggest in their latest editorial.  Eliminating “fragmentation and redundancy in the Executive Branch” could eliminate overlap and create new synergies among the many departments which play a role in infrastructure development, including the Departments of Transportation, Energy, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, and the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency.

From the editorial:

Consolidating these entities into a Department of Infrastructure would give stakeholders — from the American Society of Civil Engineers to the American Water Works Association, from AECOM to Blackrock, from states to municipalities — much-needed clarity on how our physical systems are funded, regulated and operated.

The benefits of consolidating agencies into a Department of Infrastructure are legion.

The writers opine that the move would eliminate administrative overhead, simplify approval and permitting processes, and foster collaboration.