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Chapter 725
Priority Letter Guidance

Chapter 725, Acts of 2010 requires additional clarity and standards to define how the Department of Transportation evaluates and selects proposed major capital projects for inclusion in the Construction Program of the CTP.  It requires MDOT and the local jurisdictions seeking project funding to demonstrate the relationship between prioritized projects and the long-term goals of the Maryland Transportation Plan, the Climate Action Plan Goals (as outlined in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan) and local land use plans.

The purpose of this site is to provide written guidance to local jurisdictions to supplement the Chapter 725 guidelines as well as to offer assistance of MDOT staff.  Our intention is to make this as much of a cooperative process between the counties and MDOT as possible.

Priority letters should be limited in the number of priority projects included to reflect realistic funding availability.  To that end, MDOT encourages coordination between the counties and local municipalities concerning mutual needs and priorities.  Also, the Department encourages multi-modal submissions, including transit, pedestrian, and bicycle needs, to enable local governments to have a greater impact on all State transportation investment decisions.

MDOT is requesting that counties submit their priority letters on or around the first of April each year.  Priority letters should be endorsed by the Commissioners/Council (and/or County Executive as appropriate), as well as a majority of the local legislative delegation.

Priority letters should detail how each priority project supports the goals of the Maryland Transportation Plan (MTP) , including the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act goals, and are consistent with the County’s land use plan goals.  The six goals of the MTP are:

  • Safety & Security - Enhance the safety of transportation system users and provide a transportation system that is resilient to natural or man-made hazards
  • System Preservation - Preserve and maintain the State's existing transportation infrastructure and assets
  • Quality of Service - Maintain and enhance the quality of service experienced by users of Maryland's transportation system
  • Environmental Stewardship - Ensure that the delivery of the State's transportation infrastructure program conserves and ehances Maryland's natural, historic, and cultural resources
  • Community Vitality - Provide options for the movement of people and goods that support communities and quality of life
  • Economic Prosperity - Support a healthy and competitive Maryland economy

* The full MTP is available on the web here 

** The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan is available on the web here

 For each project listed in a priority letter, the following information must be provided:

1)  Brief project purpose and need (a paragraph or two) with a map of the project location.

2)  Brief description as to how the project meets the goals of the Maryland Transportation Plan, including the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan.

3)  Brief description of how the project supports the goals and objectives of the local government’s land use plan.

The Department seeks to minimize the burden of these requirements.  Therefore, we are providing a
 Project Questionnaire, along with the following Frequently Asked Questions.  Further, MDOT staff will be happy to help you with this questionnaire should you wish to coordinate with the Department in advance of your submission.  Please use the attached questionnaire for each project requesting funding.  Each project should have no more than three pages per project submission.  In addition, while State transportation funding continues to be more in demand, it would be helpful to include whether a portion of the cost of the project will be covered by local, 3rd party or user revenues.

Project Questionnaire

  • Chris Witt – Baltimore Metropolitan Area Regional Planner / Calvert - St. Mary's MPO (C-SMMPO), cwitt@mdot.state.md.us, 410-865-1279, or toll-free in Maryland at 888-813-1414
  • Kari Snyder – Washington Metropolitan Area Regional Planner, ksnyder3@mdot.state.md.us, 410-865-1305, or toll-free in Maryland at 888-813-1414
  • Ian Beam – Rural Area Regional Planner, ibeam@mdot.state.md.us, 410-865-1280, or toll-free in Maryland at 888-813-1414

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a major capital project?
Major capital project generally includes a new, expanded or significantly improved facility or service that generally involves planning, environmental studies, design, right-of-way acquisition, construction or purchase of essential equipment related to the facility or service.

Why send a priority letter to MDOT? 
These letters publicly express to MDOT local priorities for major capital projects so those needs can be included in decision making on our budget.  Each year, the Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP) or six year capital budget for State transportation projects, will be revised based on these letters, State needs, State goals and funding availability.

Should priority letters request Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Designation?
Yes, each jurisdiction should use the priority letter process to annually request consideration for TOD designations.  To learn more about TODs and State TOD designations, please visit www.todmd.com.

When should priority letters be submitted to MDOT?
In April every year or as soon thereafter as possible.

What is the Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP)?
The CTP is Maryland’s six-year capital budget for transportation projects.  The Capital Program includes major and minor projects for the Maryland Department of Transportation and its modal agencies.  The CTP is the comprehensive listing of transportation investments to be made by the State of Maryland.  Each year, MDOT published the State Report on Transportation (SRT).  The SRT contains three important documents; the Maryland Transportation Plan (MTP), the Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP) and the annual Attainment Report (AR) on Transportation System Performance.

How is the CTP Developed?
A Draft CTP is published by September 1 of each year and the final CTP is published by the third Wednesday in January as part of the Governor’s Budget to the Legislature.  In order for the local jurisdictions to express their transportation capital project priorities and be considered for the Draft CTP, the priority letters should be submitted to MDOT by the first week of April each year.

Who should participate in the priority letter development process?
Priority letters should be coordinated amongst all local jurisdictions with planning, public works and economic staff. Priority letters should be endorsed by the Commissioners/Council (and/or County Executive as appropriate), as well as a majority of the local legislative delegation.

What types of projects should be included in priority letter requests?
The Department encourages multi-modal submissions, including transit, pedestrian, and bicycle needs, to enable local governments to have a greater impact on all State transportation investment decisions.

Where can I find the Maryland Transportation Plan?
The Maryland Transportation Plan (MTP) is the 20-year vision or long range plan for the State’s transportation infrastructure and is the basis which we program funds for State transportation capital projects.  You can view the MTP here

How do I assess my project based on the Maryland Transportation Plan (MTP)
The following questions are intended to assist you in explaining how proposed projects address MTP goals:

Safety & Security:

  1. Describe how this project will reduce the potential for collisions and injuries for non-motorized travelers, private vehicle users, transit users and/or freight/commercial users.
  2. Describe how this project will improve the security of transportation facilities or services.
  3. Describe how this project will enhance the capability of the transportation system to respond to emergency events.

System Preservation:

  1. Describe the current physical condition of this infrastructure element and its significance to the integrity and function of the transportation network.
  2. Note whether this project has the potential to reduce (public) costs of operation or maintenance based on improved asset condition or efficiency.
  3. Explain why this project is the most cost-effective and sustainable long-term solution.

Quality of Service:

  1. Explain how this project improves transportation system performance. This should include reduction in travel time or delay, or increase in travel time reliability for non-motorized travelers, private vehicle users, transit users and/or freight/commercial users.
  2. Describe how this project will reduce congestion or increase person throughput (e.g., persons moving per hour by all modes) on this facility or service.

Environmental Stewardship:

  1. Describe, to the extent possible, whether this project will protect rural, agricultural, and other sensitive/protected lands, and/or historic or cultural resources.
  2. Describe (qualitatively) the potential this project has to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.
  3. Describe the potential for this project to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay, conserve energy or promote alternative fuels.

Community Vitality:

  1. Describe how the project supports local land use, encourages Smart Growth development (e.g., higher density, mixed-use, transit-oriented, pedestrian friendly) and/or supports redevelopment/reinvestment in existing communities.
  2. Describe how this project would improve connections between modes of transportation and/or broaden transportation choices.
  3. Describe how this project will increase access to jobs and services within the community.

Economic Prosperity:

  1. Explain how this project is critical to the movement of freight and goods.
  2. Describe how this project will facilitate opportunities for growth in jobs and businesses within the State.

What is the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act Plan? 
The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2009 mandated that the State propose a plan that achieves a 25 percent statewide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, while also spurring job creation and helping to improve the economy.  The plan, which was finalized in 2013, spurs reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through incentives and other means that increase energy efficiency using existing technologies, helps reduce VMT and promotes increased transit ridership, and identifies ways to transition to new energy sources and stimulate further technology development. 

Where can I find the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act Plan?
The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan is available on the web here

What is Chapter 725?
In 2010, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill intended to enhance transparency and accountability in the evaluation and selection of proposed major capital projects for the Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP).

Where can I find the new Chapter 725 Law?
Chapter 725 Law

Where can I see other county priority letters?
You can find all county priority letter requests submitted to MDOT over the past few years online here


Last Updated on 

Mon Oct 23, 2017