A. Capital Projects.
(1) The activities of the Department involve many areas including:
(a) Planning, design, and construction of rapid transit, highway, airport, port, rail, and bus facilities in the State;
(b) Programs of transportation assistance to local and regional bodies; and
(c) Regulation of transportation operations, mainly through licensing and registration requirements.
(2) An EAF will be prepared early in the decision-making process to assist in determining whether actions related to any of these areas significantly affect the environment. After completion of the EAF, the affected administration of the Department will determine whether an EER will be prepared. The actual writing of the report may not begin until the proposal has some defined scope and general characteristics, but environmental impacts analysis will be an integral part of developing the proposal.
(3) The timing and type of community and public agency involvement in this analysis will be determined on a case-by-case basis in conformance with the policies outlined in the Department's Action Plan, as adopted by COMAR 11.01.06.
B. State System Projects. The Department's capital budget request asks for program rather than specific project appropriations. Therefore, the forms and reports will be related to phases of project development as defined in the part of the Action Plan applicable to the modal administration which develops the project and the consolidated transportation program which supplements the budget request. The form and, when necessary, report will be developed for State projects during the planning phase which is the first phase of the project development. The scope and general characteristics of the project are defined during this phase. The reports will be available to the public and submitted to the State Clearinghouse before the next phase of project development, the final design, in which the detailed specifications of the project are defined. The design phase precedes the time a State project is scheduled for right-of-way acquisition and construction in the Department's consolidated transportation program. Thus, the reports will be on file before the request to fund the budget year of the consolidated transportation program in which the right-of-way or construction phases of the project are scheduled to start.
C. State-Aided Local Projects. Capital budget appropriations for the Department's programs of transportation assistance to local jurisdictions are requested before the time detailed information on specific projects is available. Therefore, an environmental assessment form covering each of these grant programs in a general manner will be prepared and submitted before the request for capital appropriations.