Over the next 30 years local development plans will result in the loss of over 400,000 acres of rural lands. Maryland will be forced to pay billions of dollars it does not have for new roads, schools, and services. At the same time the pollution from all this new development will make it harder and more expensive to make sure our air and water are clean and healthy. Many of our existing communities have been decimated by policies at both the state and local level that funded new development on green fields instead of reinvestment in older communities.
We focus on four key strategies to help Maryland to slow the rate it is paving over rural lands and to encourage growth into areas that will result in more vibrant, economically and socially successful places to live, work and play.
- Improve state and local planning processes to increase accountability for the results of those plans.
- Encourage development where it should occur and discourage it from where it will do the most harm.
- Target transportation plans and funding to ensure new infrastructure provides better choices for people to get to work, school and play.
- Strengthen rural communities and economies; protect open spaces to reduce development pressures on these critical lands.
More information on our work can be found in the five categories on the left. Make sure to also visit our "take action" pages to find out what you can do to make Maryland an even better place to live, work, and play!
. 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.
1000 Friends has created a ten-step platform for achieving a vibrant future, a future that includes the following:
- Maryland has vibrant cities and towns that support large and small businesses and are great places to live for people of all ages and incomes.
- Maryland has a world class transportation system that provides transportation choices for affordable and efficient access to jobs, schools, services, and recreation.
- Maryland has a healthy environment that results in a bountiful Chesapeake and Coastal Bays, clean rivers and creeks, and clean air.
- Maryland has a resilient, diverse and sustainable economy that uses tax dollars efficiently and creates conditions that support job growth.
- Maryland’s rural lands are economically strong and support farms to feed the region, lands for hunting, critical wildlife habitats and recreation.
Click HERE for the complete vision and our 10 steps to a vibrant future.