Every year, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) produces the Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP), which is Maryland’s six year capital budget for transportation projects. All projects must first be included in the CTP process prior to inclusion into the regional Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).
The Consolidated Transportation Program
The CTP contains all projects and programs across MDOT. It includes capital projects that are generally new, expanded or significantly improved facilities or services. They may involve planning, environmental studies, design, right-of-way acquisition, construction, or the purchase of essential equipment related to the facility or service.
The CTP is a key part of the State Report on Transportation (SRT), which MDOT publishes each year. 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.
In developing the CTP, planners at MDOT compare local priorities with the previous year’s CTP. They also identify systems preservations needs— such as road resurfacing projects—through technical evaluation. In determining what can and cannot be funded, MDOT planners examine the previous year’s CTP to determine how costs and revenues have changed.
The criteria used to prioritize program and project investment and key milestones are outlined below. These criteria include:
- Support existing project commitments and uphold intergovernmental agreements;
- Meet all federal and other legal mandates (e.g. TMDL compliance, PTC requirement by 2015, FAA regulations to maintain airport permit);
- Meet all Federal match requirements to maximize Federal revenue sources;
- Address critical safety issues;
- Support system preservation;
- Support local and/or statewide economic development;
- Support alternative modes of transportation (transit, bike and pedestrian);
- The single top priority (or one of two or three top priorities) within a local priority letter;
- Consistent with local plans;
- Included in the regional MPO long-range plan (if the project is located within an MPO boundary);
- Supports the Department’s program priorities and goals and,
- Project supports State plans and objectives, such as priority revitalization area (e.g. TOD or a designated Sustainable Community).
The draft CTP is sent to the governor for review in August and is released to the public on September 15.
The County Priority Letters & the Secretary’s Annual Tour
In the spring, MDOT asks each county and its state legislators to identify local transportation priorities and officially transmit them to the state in the form of the counties’ annual “Priority Letters.” The state provides guidance that the counties use in developing the priority letters.
Between September and November, the Maryland secretary of transportation and other MDOT officials go on the road to get feedback on the draft CTP. In a process commonly called the “Annual Tour,” MDOT officials visit each county and present the draft six-year CTP. The Annual Tour presentations often occur as part of the county councils’ regular meetings. The public is often invited to make comments and ask questions at these presentations.
After considering the input received from local and county officials during the Annual Tour, MDOT revises the CTP and submits it first to the Governor and then to the General Assembly for budget approval.
The schedule for the Annual Tour, which is held every fall, is posted on MDOT's Consolidated Transportation Plan webpages several months before the events occur.
Approving the Consolidated Transportation Program
Every January, Maryland’s Governor submits the State Report on Transportation, including the CTP, to the Maryland General Assembly. The General Assembly typically approves the CTP in April. The new CTP is officially underway on July 1 when the new fiscal year begins.
"Construction of the InterCounty Connector," by This Is Bossi on Flickr.