Planning Partnership Initiative (PPI)

The PPI is intended to address time-sensitive locally-initiated planning and feasibility studies that occur outside MaineDOT’s normal annual Work Plan cycle. The approach is to study, evaluate, plan and scope transportation projects on or adjacent to the state transportation system with MaineDOT as a partner. While MaineDOT will continue to evaluate requests for planning studies and engineering assessments during its annual Work Plan process, the PPI program is intended to be simple, flexible, and fast-moving for new economic development and other high-priority proposals. MaineDOT will respond to regional and local interests, economic opportunities, and safety needs whenever possible, while ensuring the public gets good value for its tax dollars. Municipalities, Regional Planning Organizations, other transportation stakeholders and private entities may request or apply for PPIs. Since MaineDOT already provides discretionary transportation planning funds to MaineDOT’s four Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO), PPIs are directed outside MPO planning boundaries. The PPI is for planning activities only and is not intended for project design.

General Information about the PPI Program

Program Requirements

In order to be eligible, each PPI must meet the following criteria:

  • Clear Purpose and Need Statement: The PPI must articulate a clear transportation problem to be solved or economic opportunities to be realized through the evaluation of transportation improvements.
  • Location-Specific Evaluation: PPIs are intended for planning, engineering analyses and scoping studies to evaluate potential future capital improvements or land use changes that could avoid or reduce future capital project costs.
  • Deliverability: The PPI effort must have clear schedule parameters, generally less than one year.
  • Public Involvement: The municipality(ies) within the study area must lead the public involvement process consistent with all federal and state laws, including the Sensible Transportation Policy Act.
  • State-Municipal Agreement: The municipality(ies) and all involved parties must be willing to enter into an agreement whereby the PPI Grant amount is capped, based on project estimates prior to study kick-off.
  • Eligibility for Federal Surface Transportation Funding: The proposed study must be eligible for federal funding.
  • Project Administration: Procurement efforts and project administration will vary based on scope, cost, entity applying for PPI, etc. MaineDOT will discuss procurement options with potential grant recipients upon receipt of a proposal.

Planning Partnership Initiative funding is limited, is first come/first serve, and may vary. MaineDOT funding is generally capped at $75,000; therefore, most studies will be $150,000 or less in total cost. Minimum local contributions are typically as follows:

  • Municipal Property Valuation less than $150M, 70% State, 30% Municipal
  • Municipal Property Valuation $150M to $350M, 60% State, 40% Municipal
  • Municipal Property Valuation >$350M, 50% State, 50% Municipal

Other state and/or federal transportation funding may not be used for the local match. The match may, however, include other non-transportation funding sources such as impact fees, TIFs, and CDBG grants.

Project Examples
  • Economic development, land use and transportation planning
  • Identification and evaluation of potential transportation alternatives
  • Build-out analyses and analysis of transportation impacts of undeveloped or underdeveloped land
  • Multi-modal planning efforts to identify transportation deficiencies and strategies to address the deficiencies
  • Conceptual renderings of transportation alternatives
  • Cost estimating for potential future transportation improvements
Project Administration

Project administration will be project-specific and will be detailed in a Cooperative Agreement. In general, projects are intended to be administered by a municipality, Regional Planning Organization or other municipality-supported and duly authorized entity, with MaineDOT reviewing work progress at key milestones. The focus of MaineDOT reviews will be to ensure that the project will achieve the stated benefits listed above, maintain federal funding eligibility and will not degrade safety. MaineDOT will reimburse the grantee once the work is complete and to the satisfaction of MaineDOT. MaineDOT may consider partial payments based on project progress on large projects, subject to available funding.

Eligibility and Application Process

Project Selection/Eligibility Criteria

MaineDOT will continuously accept project applications. Eligible projects will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Project selection/eligibility factors include:

  • Economic Development and Job Creation: The PPI will provide job growth or economic development.
  • Safety: The PPI will evaluate direct safety needs such as a high crash history or reduce the potential for hazardous conditions.
  • Mobility: The PPI will evaluate direct mobility needs such as an area with chronic congestion or insufficient capacity.
  • Customer Benefit: The effort will benefit transportation system users.
  • Degree of Betterment: Projects that reduce maintenance costs, improve ride quality, or increase safety or mobility will be given a higher priority.
  • Implementation Funding: The PPI must show a high likelihood of obtaining local, private, state and/or federal funding and/or other resources to implement any proposed transportation improvements or land use changes. The likelihood of potential future state and federal funding must be related to safety, MaineDOT Highway Corridor Priority and/or economic development.
  • Percentage of Local Match: The greater the percentage of non-state/non-federal funding, the greater the likelihood the project will be selected.
Application Process

To apply for a PPI grant, please submit a Letter of Interest to:

Marty Rooney
16 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333

Or via email:

  1. Please briefly describe the proposed study and study area (ideally a map, even if a rough outline in marker on a photocopy).
  2. Please briefly describe the purpose of the study and why you feel the study is needed.
  3. Please briefly describe any previous or related studies in the study area.
  4. Please briefly describe how the project satisfies the Project Selection/Eligibility:
    • Economic Development and Job Creation
    • Safety
    • Mobility
    • Customer Benefit
    • Degree of Betterment
    • Implementation Funding
    • Percentage of Local Match
  5. Please indicate whether you have your share of this funding, what actions, if/any have been taken to acquire it and/or the process/ timeframe to secure your financial match.
Consultant Procurement

Consultant Procurement Procedures

Municipalities seeking a PPI grant must have an LPA certified local project administrator and should use MaineDOT’s Local Project Administration (LPA) procedures for procuring consultant services. If a municipality does not current have an LPA certified administrator, the municipality should attend the next available LPA training. A condensed outline of the procurement process is as follows:

  1. Prepare Scope of Work and Independent Cost Estimate
  2. Develop request for proposals (RFP) and select one of the following procurement methods:
    • Contract value less than $25,000. Request proposal from a single, pre-qualified consultant or issue an RFP to multiple firms
    • Contract value $25,000 - $250,000. Provide RFP directly to three to five pre-qualified consultants soliciting a technical proposal and a separate, sealed price proposal; or,
    • Contract value greater than $250,000. Advertise open-RFP on municipal website soliciting a technical proposal and a separate, sealed price proposal
  3. Organize an evaluation team and review RFP technical submittals. Please include MaineDOT on your evaluation team
  4. Open sealed price proposal from the top-ranked consultant
  5. Negotiate scope of work, schedule, and a fair and reasonable price. If negotiations break down, request Best and Final Offer
  6. Execute contract with consultant
  7. Issue written Notice to Proceed to consultant

Chapter 2 (Consultant Selection) of the LPA Manual (PDF)

Prequalified firms for Planning-Feasibility Studies (Service # 103.60) by MaineDOT

Consultant Payment Methods

Municipalities awarded PPI funding should consider a Fixed Burdened Hourly Rate method of payment for consultant contracts. A Burdened Hourly Rate payment method is suitable when the Scope of Work is well defined, but the number of hours required is uncertain. A consultant working under this type of contract must keep a record of the work completed. Lump sum contacts are not recommended for PPI studies.

For more information on consultant payments methods, see Appendix 2B of the LPA Manual

You may also find the Consultant Contract Template a helpful resource.