Legislation Eliminates County Input in Transportation Projects
Jeopardizes Future Projects Across the State
“House Bill 1013 upends a system that has worked for decades,” said House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga. “It discards the county’s input on their transportation priorities and instead creates a scoring system for transportation projects that weighs heavily in favor of mass transit in urban areas.”
Maryland already has a system in place to select transportation projects for the Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP). Every year, the Secretary of Transportation tours the state, holding public hearings and gathering input from citizens and elected officials. Each county sends a list of their transportation priorities and the projects are selected based on the priorities of the counties and the funding available.
Governor Hogan has invested an unprecedented $2 billion across the state. Dollars to fix every single structurally deficient bridge and move Maryland forward on the top-priority road projects in every jurisdiction of the state. House Bill 1013 creates a scoring system where projects are awarded points based on various criteria. The scoring is weighed heavily in favor of urban areas and mass transit.
“This bill scores projects in different parts of the state in exactly the same way,” said Delegate Bob Flanagan, who served as the Secretary of Transportation from 2003-2007. “This fails to recognize that different parts of the state have different needs. For example, economic development might be more important in some parts of the state while congestion relief is more important in another. This weighting system gives no consideration for the various needs of the state.”
“This legislation has far and long-reaching consequences for the future of Maryland’s transportation infrastructure,” said Delegate Jeff Ghrist. “Had this bill been enacted in 2015, Montgomery County would have received 96% of the transportation funding. Projects that would make our roads safer, such as the widening of the notoriously dangerous MD 404 on the Eastern Shore would not have received funding if this bill had passed last year. Transportation taxes are paid by all of Marylanders, and the funding should benefit the entire state, not just one or two jurisdictions.”
“Governor Hogan’s actions have been immensely popular with the citizens of Maryland, transcending party lines,” said House Minority Leader Nic Kipke. “It is unfortunate that some Democratic leaders are again playing politics with something as serious as roads and bridges. The bill seems to be aimed at limiting the power of the Executive branch for political reasons but in doing so this legislation if enacted would dangerously affect the safety of Marylanders who drive on our roads and travel across our bridges. It is a wrong-minded and unproductive pattern that we’ve seen too frequently this session.”