Transportation & Planning
Our transportation infrastructure is severely strained, and as a result we spend too much time commuting. As your Delegate in Annapolis, I work closely with other Montgomery County elected officials to speak with a strong, unified voice on transportation priorities so we get our fair share of state and federal transportation funding.
Historically, the state has spent the vast majority of its transportation dollars on roads. We need a new way forward. As Delegate, I support policies to ensure that state transportation investments prioritize transit over highways; encourage local governments to adopt policies that support transit-oriented development and Smart Growth principles; and promote the creation and maintenance of infrastructure that supports dense, walkable communities.
Even as we invest in new transit and other innovative transportation solutions, we must halt the deterioration of the existing infrastructure on which we depend every day. I support efforts to create dedicated funding sources for Metro and implement the reforms WMATA needs to manage the system appropriately. I also support strengthening laws and incentives that promote other alternatives to single-occupancy commuting, including ride-sharing and telework, by both government and private sector employees.
Transit-oriented development is one of our most powerful tools in the fight against sprawl. As with energy policy, the economic and social benefits of transit-oriented development are as compelling as the ecological ones. This is not to say it is a cure-all – there are areas that cannot sustain additional development of any kind. But for areas where population growth is expected, policy at all levels of government should promote dense, mixed-use, transit-oriented development patterns, including by:
- Locating new state buildings in dense, transit-accessible locations.
- Encouraging local governments – or acting directly where appropriate – to remove legal and regulatory obstacles to the creation of dense, mixed-use, transit oriented neighborhoods.
- Supporting efforts of our congressional delegation to further reform federal transportation spending formulas in favor of transit.
Restoring the Promise of Smart Growth
While Maryland had the vision to pioneer Smart Growth, its promise remains tragically unfulfilled. Sprawl affects almost every aspect of our lives, including our physical health, families, social relationships, the quality of our schools, the efficiency of our economy, and the pollution of our air and water. Therefore, if re-elected I hope to continue to play an active role in making the promise of Smart Growth a reality. Our development policy, like our energy policy, suffers from a disconnect between the ambitious goals and strategies articulated at the state level and the actual decisions made by local governments. Among the specific policies I support are:
- Making clear that counties are required to follow their comprehensive plans
- Establishing a consistent framework for granting (rare) exemptions and variances
- Ensuring that state funding is only provided in connection with local decisions that are consistent with the principles of Smart Growth as embodied in a county’s comprehensive plan
- Creating a state-wide development plan that is tied into the state’s Consolidated Transportation Program and proposed comprehensive energy plan to provide a coordinated program for sustainable growth management by all of the State’s jurisdictions.