With fo­cus on roads, Mary­land has the wrong trans­porta­tion pri­or­i­ties

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - OBITUARIES -

The Sun weighed in on the most re­cent Mary­land Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion “road show” and rightly lamented the state’s dis­in­vest­ment from the Mary­land Tran­sit Ad­min­is­tra­tion and tran­sit in Bal­ti­more (“Mary­land has a trans­porta­tion rev­enue prob­lem,” Sept. 30).

In ad­di­tion to bud­get cuts, Gov. Larry Ho­gan and his trans­porta­tion agency have emp­tied the pipe­line of po­ten­tial fu­ture MTA projects. So when a new ad­min­is­tra­tion takes over in 2023 there won’t be any MTA projects to ad­vance even if that gover­nor is more amenable to tran­sit. It will take the re­gion years to re­cover from this type of scorched earth strat­egy.

The Sun calls for new ways to pay for trans­porta­tion, but it’s not nec­es­sar­ily the case that we need more rev­enue. What we need is a change in pri­or­i­ties. Ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent short­range trans­porta­tion plan from the Bal­ti­more Re­gional Trans­porta­tion Board, over the next four years our re­gion will spend over $1 bil­lion on ex­pand­ing roads and high­ways. In con­trast, we’ll spend a measly $2 mil­lion on ex­pand­ing our tran­sit sys­tem.

We can’t spend 500 times more on widen­ing high­ways then we do on tran­sit and ex­pect things to get bet­ter. Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary Pete K. Rahn says that if 74% of Mary­lan­ders get to work by driv­ing alone we should spend 74% of trans­porta­tion dol­lars on roads and high­ways.

The out­come of that type of think­ing is that in 2018 Mary­lan­ders drove more miles per capita than any point in his­tory. No won­der our traf­fic is snarled and the cli­mate cri­sis is harm­ing Mary­lan­ders.

We need to re-pri­or­i­tize our spend­ing to fo­cus more on main­tain­ing ex­ist­ing roads while ex­pand­ing op­tions for tran­sit, bik­ing and walk­ing so that res­i­dents have ac­tual choices on how to get around.

Eric Nor­ton, Bal­ti­more The writer is di­rec­tor of pol­icy and pro­grams for the Cen­tral Mary­land Trans­porta­tion Alliance. Howard County schools are seg­re­gated be­cause hous­ing is seg­re­gated

What I took away from your cov­er­age of the racial and fi­nan­cial seg­re­ga­tion in Howard County and its schools as re­ported re­cently in the Howard County News sec­tion is that Michael Mar­ti­rano, the Howard County schools su­per­in­ten­dent, will not be sat­is­fied un­til ev­ery school in our sys­tem gets a Ti­tle I rank­ing, along with the re­sul­tant high teacher turnovers and re­sul­tant large num­ber of in­ex­pe­ri­enced teach­ers and high bus­ing ex­pen­di­tures (“Howard County’s re­dis­trict­ing plan: Progress but not pain-free,” Sept. 10).

The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion will not be solved by trans­fer­ring 7,400 chil­dren, but by en­sur­ing that de­vel­op­ers are no longer al­lowed to opt out of pro­vid­ing low in­come hous­ing as is cur­rently the case in places like Maple Lawn, Turf Val­ley, River Hill and Down­town Columbia, and that real es­tate agen­cies are re­quired to stop their cur­rent un­writ­ten, but ob­vi­ous seg­re­ga­tion poli­cies.

CBF’s Baker: Zero emis­sions helps cli­mate and the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay

Don­ald Boesch is ex­actly right. We can’t af­ford more missed dead­lines to re­store the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay and to fight global cli­mate change (“Bold, sen­si­ble ac­tions needed to push Md. to net zero emis­sions,” Sept. 30).

Af­ter all, a healthy bay is one of our best de­fenses against the im­pacts of cli­mate change. Es­tu­ar­ies pro­tect coastal ar­eas from flood­ing and storms, sta­bi­lize shore­lines and pro­vide a safe haven for wildlife.

But we won’t re­al­ize these ben­e­fits un­less the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay states and the U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency ac­cel­er­ate restora­tion ef­forts to meet the 2025 deadline out­lined in the Ch­e­sa­peake Clean Wa­ter Blue­print.

For­tu­nately, ef­forts un­der­way to save the bay will also help curb cli­mate change.

Pro­tect­ing and restor­ing marshes, plant­ing trees and adding more oys­ters to the bay through restora­tion and aqua­cul­ture all im­prove wa­ter qual­ity, store carbon and mit­i­gate ad­verse ef­fects of cli­mate change.

We know cli­mate change will put even more pres­sure on an al­ready frag­ile Bay ecosys­tem. Meet­ing the 2025 pol­lu­tion re­duc­tion tar­gets will not only make the bay re­silient to these changes, it will make our com­mu­ni­ties more re­silient, too.

Sav­ing the bay and fight­ing cli­mate change go hand in hand. And both are a moral im­per­a­tive. The time to act is now.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.