Thursday, February 09 2012 @ 04:48 PM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
by Laura DeSantis and Cheryl Cort, Greater Greater Wasington
The county transportation lists also contain important transit, bike, and pedestrian projects, but often these proposals languish while road projects advance. Other important transit, pedestrian, bicycle, and complete streets solutions never even make the list. We need to fund projects that meet the growing demand for more transportation choices that save time, energy, and money.
If Marylanders are asked to pay more, each dollar must be invested wisely. Residents need better and more affordable transportation choices. So where should this money go?
First, let's fix Maryland's existing infrastructure, like our aging roads, bridges and transit systems. Then, let's build modern transit to move more people efficiently and competitively, while providing alternatives to congested highways like the Beltway, I-95, and I-270. It's long past time for critical rail investments like the Purple Line, Baltimore Red Line and MARC expansion, and better bus service.
At the local level, state revenue to local governments should go to fix and maintain local street connections, sidewalks, and bikeways for existing communities.
Moreover, given high unemployment, smart growth transit options can help the economy. Public transportation and road maintenance are the biggest job creators. According to the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, investments in road maintenance projects create 9% more jobs than spending on new highway capacity; increasing transit capacity creates 19% more jobs than new highway capacity. [And bike/ped projects even more jobs per dollar spent.]
If Marylanders are going to pay more, we deserve to know what the money will buy. We need a bill that that specifies smart, fix-it-first policies for the state. Otherwise, we're just throwing our money into the dark.