Climate Change Stakeholders Group Meets to Discuss Transportation and Land Use Strategies

The Maryland Transportation and Land Use Strategies Group, a workgroup formed by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to review and make recommendations for new State and local policies to support the State’s current climate change activities, met yesterday to discuss to the transportation and land use strategies that have been included in the State’s draft greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan.

These 24 policy recommendations will focus on State and local transportation and land use policies, including vehicle and transit requirements, sustainable land use planning, zoning, and coordination with PlanMaryland.  MACo’s comments, submitted to MDE on August 17, raised concerns with those recommendations that would assign vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and GHG reduction goals to local governments.  MACo also raised issues with the estimated costs, economic benefits, and results of implementing the strategies proposed in the Plan; the adaptation strategies that would significantly affect local governments; and the process that will be used to finalize and potentially implement the Plan.

The purpose of the September 5 meeting was to seek needed clarifications from stakeholders, discuss enhancements to existing actions, and share next steps.  Based on MACo’s written comments and those made during the meeting, additional economic analysis will be performed, including at the county or regional level if possible.  Additional clarification will also be provided with respect to the land use strategies and those that would prioritize transportation projects based on greenhouse emissions impacts.  A summary of the transportation and land use strategies can be found here.

Although there was discussion at a previous meeting of California legislation that sets regional greenhouse gas reductions based on land use and links regional transportation and housing efforts, it was stated that there has not been a big push to implement those standards here in Maryland.

Considering the complexity of the strategies and the need for more time to discuss each, stakeholders will be given a few more days to submit clarifying questions and/or enhancements.  Although  a discussion of Watershed Improvement Plans and PlanMaryland was listed on the agenda, time did not allow for this.

Moving forward, MDE intends to have all clarifications and enhancements to the State’s draft greenhouse gas reduction plan finalized by September 30 and begin working on an implementation support plan for the transportation and land use strategies in October.  The greenhouse gas reduction plan will be finalized in December.  It was mentioned numerous times that this plan is a living document and may be changed or modified as implementation strategies are developed, new standards arise or as concerns are expressed.

The Transportation and Land Use Strategies Group will meet again on September 27.

Materials from yesterday’s meeting can be found below.

PowerPoint Presentation – Meeting Overview and Transportation and Land Use Strategies

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