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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:

  • Ensure a Safe, Secure, and Resilient Transportation System- Enhance the safety and security of Maryland’s multimodal transportation system and provide a transportation system that is resilient to natural or man-made hazards.
  • Facilitate Economic Opportunity and Reduce Congestion in Maryland through Strategic System Expansion- Invest in and pursue opportunities to promote system improvements that support economic development, reduce congestion, and improve the movement of people and goods.
  • Maintain a High Standard and Modernize Maryland’s Multimodal Transportation System- Preserve, maintain, and modernize the State’s existing transportation infrastructure and assets.
  • Improve the Quality and Efficiency of the Transportation System to enhance the Customer Experience- Increase the use of technologies and operational improvements to enhance transportation services and communication to satisfy our customers.
  • Ensure Environmental Protection and Sensitivity- Deliver sustainable transportation infrastructure improvements that protect and reduce impacts to Maryland’s natural, historic, and cultural resources.
  • Promote Fiscal Responsibility- Ensure responsible investment and management of taxpayer resources to add value and deliver quality transportation improvements through performance-based decision-making and innovative funding mechanisms and partnerships.
  • Provide Better Transportation Choice and Connections- Improve transportation connections to support alternative transportation options for the movement of people and goods.

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 providin an online Project Questionnaire (https://www.research.net/r/MDOTCHAP725), 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 online Questionnaire to submit details regarding the project you are requesting funding. 

  • Dan Janousek – Baltimore Metropolitan Area Regional Planner / Calvert - St. Mary's MPO (C-SMMPO), djanousek@mdot.state.md.us, 410-865-1098, 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 MDOT's TOD page.

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:

Ensure a Safe, Secure, and Resilient Transportation System:

  1. Describe how this project will help reduce the number of lives lost and injuries for non-motorized travelers, private vehicle users, transit users, freight users and commercial users
  2. Describe how this project will support and improve the secure movement of people, goods, and data.
  3. Describe how this project will anticipate and plan for changing conditions and hazards whether natural or man-made.
  4. Describe how this project will improve roadway clearance times and support efficient and coordinated responses to emergency and disaster events throughout the transportation system.

Facilitate Economic Opportunity and Reduce Congestion in Maryland through Strategic System Expansion:

  1. Describe how this project will help provide access to jobs and tourism and leverage economic growth opportunities.
  2. Describe how this project will improve the movement of goods through Maryland by investing in intermodal connections and improvements to reduce freight bottlenecks.
  3. Describe how this project will support the investment in the investment and operational improvements that will help reduce congestion along the multimodal transportation system.

Maintain a High Standard and Modernize Maryland’s Multimodal Transportation System:

  1. Describe the current condition of this infrastructure element and how this element will be preserved and maintained to be in a state of good repair. Is the infrastructure element state-owned?
  2. Describe how this project will plans on using new and innovative technology to facilitate the movement of people and goods. How does this project plan on utilizing partnerships, design practices, and practices to help facilitate the movement of people and goods.
  3. What are your ongoing Asset Management Initiatives to ensure the sustainability of transportation infrastructure? What role will asset management have in ensuring that investment in this project is optimal and sustainable for transportation infrastructure?

Improve the Quality and Efficiency of the Transportation System to Enhance the Customer Experience:

  1. How will this project leverage partnerships, advanced technologies and operational enhancement to improve transportation service delivery methods.
  2.  Explain how it is anticipated that this project will enhance customer satisfaction with multimodal transportation.
  3. Explain how this project will improve predictability of travel times and minimize travel delays.
  4. How will this project apply enhanced technologies to improve communications with transportation system users?

Ensure Environmental Protection and Sensitivity:

  1. Explain how your project will minimize the impact to the natural, historical, and cultural environment through avoidance, minimization, and mitigation of adverse impacts related to transportation infrastructure.  Also include how project efforts will improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
  2. Include details regarding resource protection and conservation projects in project development, construction, operations, and maintenance of transportation assets for this project.
  3. What initiatives will this project have in place to reduce fossil fuel consumption, mitigate greenhouse gases, and improve air quality.

Promote Fiscal Responsibility:

  1.  What steps will be taken or have already been taken to ensure the acceleration of project completion? This could include details regarding alternative project delivery methods and strategic partnerships
  2. How does this project support responsible investment and maximizes the value on investment?
  3. What financing streams are in place or planned to be in place to support his project? How will this project ensure that there will be a consistent revenue stream throughout the life of the project?

Provide Better Transportation Choice and Connections:

  1. How will this project contribute to the transportation networks that will improve accessibility and mobility.  Include details on coordination that is planned or already in place with statewide, regional and local partners.
  2. How will this project improve movement of people and goods at activity centers?
  3. Include details on how this project plans on informing and educating constituents on transportation options and benefits.

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 

Thu Jan 31, 2019