Roles & Responsibilities | Baltimore Metropolitan Council

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Roles & Responsibilities

The BRTB does not exercise direct control over funding and does not implement projects, but it does perform a range of activities that promote an integrated approach to transportation development. The requirements of federal law compel the key transportation players in the region to work through the BRTB process.

The BRTB ensures compliance with federal laws and requirements

The BRTB carries out a performance-driven, outcome-based metropolitan transportation planning process by performing a range of activities that promote an integrated approach to transportation development. The BRTB activities comply with federal law and requirements, provide a regional transportation policy framework and forum for coordination, and provide technical resources for decision-making. The BRTB’s committee and subcommittee structure allow for routine meetings to ensure that BRTB members, including MDOT and public transportation providers, local jurisdictions, and additional interested parties, engage with and meet the scope of the performance based metropolitan transportation planning process.

Federal requirements inject consistency and coordination into regional transportation decision-making. The federally mandated metropolitan planning process requires all MPOs across the country to produce two basic documents—a fiscally-constrained long-range transportation plan (LRTP) with a twenty-year horizon, and a short range program known as the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) with a four-year horizon that lists projects and programs with committed funding. In order to receive federal surface transportation funding, transportation projects must be included in the LRTP and the TIP.

Federal law also requires that the region have adequate funds to build the projects listed in these two main planning documents. The funding for the LRTP and TIP must be “reasonably expected to be available,” according to federal transportation law. This financial constraint is intended to make sure the different partners in the region’s transportation system are realistically planning for the future.

In addition, the projects in the LRTP and the TIP, taken collectively, contribute to air quality improvement goals for the region. This is a requirement of the federal Clean Air Act. The BRTB must also comply with federal laws, regulations and policies stipulating that regional transportation plans must not disproportionately affect low-income or minority communities in an adverse way.

Every four years, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) must certify that each metropolitan planning organization (MPO) serving a transportation management area (TMA) – a designation by DOT of an urban area with a population over 200,000 (as defined by the Bureau of the Census) – is carrying out the metropolitan planning process in adherence with federal statutes and regulations. FTA and FHWA conduct a review of the metropolitan planning process within each TMA and jointly issue this certification on behalf of the DOT Secretary, in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 5303(k).

The most recent certification review took place in spring 2024 with a 30-day comment period and a public meeting on May 1, 2024. Here are the comments and responses for the certification review comment period.

Once a final report has been issued by the federal review team it will be posted to this page.