. Thank you to the members of the General Assembly who worked hard on these and other important bills. And thanks to all of our friends who contacted their legislators to support bills to make Maryland a better place.
Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act of 2016 HB1013 PASSED! State transportation funds should be spent on projects that create access to jobs, reduce congestion, and support a healthy environment. The proposed bills establish goals and measures for scoring transportation projects. An objective process for reviewing and ranking projects will greatly improve transparency and accountability. After passing in both chambers, the Governor vetoed the bill. Thankfully, the legislature succeeded in overriding the veto!
MTA Oversight and Planning Board HB1010 PASSED! This bill will increase effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability to the people and local governments served by MTA. An empowered board that includes transit riders will improve MTA's ability to identify and implement the improvements needed to bring our transit service into the 21st century.
Commuter Tax Benefit HB1012 PASSED! The Maryland Commuter Tax Credit program has not kept pace with increased carpool expenses and increased MTA, MARC, and DC Metro fares. The proposed bill increases the credit to $100 per month per employee and reduces carpool eligibility to 6 riders. These improvements will encourage more employers to participate in the program and help ease congestion in our metro areas.
Fairbox Recovery Rate Repeal HB0891 / SB1035 NOT THIS YEAR, BUT WE ARE GOING TO TRY AGAIN NEXT YEAR! The farebox recovery requirement for the Maryland Transit Administration is a strong disincentive for investing in transit. Expenses like maintenance, cleaning, and training operators increase operating costs – making it harder to meet the 35% farebox recovery requirement – but are essential to having a well-operated system.
Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act – Application HB1428 / SB0748 DEFEATED! These bills extend by 5 years a key “grandfathering” milestone in the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012 and, in doing so, undermine the Act. Major residential developments on septic systems proposed for areas dominated by farmland, forest, and open space were given until October 2016 to obtain preliminary subdivision plan approval – a fair deadline that should
Sediment Control Violations - Enforcement SB0812 / HB1240 DEFEATED! These bills require the Maryland Department of the Environment to deliver three separate warning notices and provide an opportunity for corrective action before imposing a penalty when a developer fails to control runoff from a construction site. Polluted runoff from construction sites impairs local rivers and streams. Weak enforcement of rules controlling sediment runoff from construction sites is unacceptable.
Traffic delays. Reliability. Access to Jobs. What will our next mayor do to improve transportation for Baltimore City? Now is the time for a serious discussion with the candidates for mayor about how we can have a world class transit system in Baltimore.
We had a great turn-out for this event on February 25, 2016. If you couldn't make it, or just want to take a second look, the candidates answers to our questionaire is here.