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.

We are excited that many of our local and state partners have signed on to our testimony supporting this bill: American Chestnut Land Trust, AMP Creeks Council, Chapman Forest Foundation, Citizens for the Preservation of Middletown Valley, Clean Water Action, Coalition for Smarter Growth, Friends of Frederick County, Maryland Conservation Council, Maryland Native Plant Society, Maryland Ornithological Society, Mattawoman Watershed Society, Nanjemoy-Potomac Environmental Coalition, Potomac Conservancy, Safe Skies Maryland, Southern Maryland Audubon Society, and 350 MoCo.

Please consider taking a moment to join us in supporting this legislation by contacting your representatives in Annapolis and asking them for a favorable vote.

LEGISLATIVE BACKGROUND (PDF)

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Kimberly Golden Brandt · Director of Smart Growth Maryland

Kim Brandt leads Smart Growth Maryland, a project of Preservation Maryland, dedicated to the preservation of forests, farms and open space, and revitalization of Maryland’s cities and towns.

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