Priority Funding Areas Interactive Map Logo Priority Funding Areas (View Online)

The 1997 Priority Funding Areas Act capitalizes on the influence of State expenditures on economic growth and development. This legislation directs State spending to Priority Funding Areas. Priority Funding Areas are existing communities and places where local governments want State investment to support future growth.

Growth-related projects covered by the legislation include most State programs that encourage or support growth and development such as highways, sewer and water construction, economic development assistance, and State leases or construction of new office facilities.

The Priority Funding Areas legislation builds on the foundation created by the Visions which were adopted as State policy in the 1992 Economic Growth, Resource Protection and Planning Act. Beginning October 1, 1998, the State of Maryland directed funding for projects that support growth to Priority Funding Areas. Funding for projects in municipalities, other existing communities, industrial areas, and planned growth areas designated by counties receive priority State funding over other projects. Priority Funding Areas are locations where the State and local governments want to target their efforts to encourage and support economic development and new growth.

The following areas qualify as Priority Funding Areas:

  • every municipality, as they existed in 1997;
  • areas inside the Washington Beltway and the Baltimore Beltway;
  • areas already designated as enterprise zones, neighborhood revitalization areas, heritage areas and existing industrial land;

The Smart Growth legislation recognizes the important role local governments play in managing growth and determining the locations most suitable for State-funded projects. Counties may designate areas as Priority Funding Areas if they meet guidelines for intended use, availability of plans for sewer and water systems, and permitted residential density. Areas eligible for county designation are existing communities and areas where industrial or other economic development is desired. In addition, counties may designate areas planned for new residential communities which will be served by water and sewer systems and meet density standards.

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