The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) has narrowed the potential third Chesapeake Bay bridge to three corridors, all of which originate in Anne Arundel County. Smart Growth Maryland supports the no-build option.
In a major win for the environment and smart growth, earlier this week the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) denied a controversial application to construct two utility-scale solar developments proposed for forested land in western Charles County.
Legislation Offered in Support of Local Approval of New Toll Roads and Bridges
02/07/2019 By Kimberly Golden Brandt
Many Marylanders are concerned about State proposals to build another Bay Bridge and new toll lanes on highways. These projects could negatively impact local environmental, cultural, and historic resources and diminish the quality of life enjoyed by residents.
Smart Growth Maryland is supporting legislation sponsored by Delegate Brooke Lierman and Senator William Smith, Jr. – HB 102/SB 442 – that extends to all Maryland counties and the City of Baltimore a prohibition on State agencies constructing a toll road, toll highway, or toll bridge without the consent of a majority of the affected jurisdictions. Currently, this consent requirement applies to only Maryland’s Eastern Shore counties.
Vintage postcard of the Bay Bridge. Image from the Boston Public Library.
Local consent is important because where a jurisdiction grows – and does not grow – is decided locally through a comprehensive planning process. Public involvement is a critical part of that process, with comprehensive plans reflecting the vision and goals for the community’s future expressed by residents. A new State toll road, toll highway, or toll bridge has tremendous potential to undermine local control of growth and negate public input by creating development pressure in areas not planned for growth – often areas with environmental, cultural, and historic resources that residents want protected and preserved.
It is critical for all Maryland counties and the City of Baltimore to have the right to determine if a State toll road, toll highway, or toll bridge is consistent with their jurisdiction’s vision for its future.