Senate Hints At Transportation Planning Bill Amendments

MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson testified in opposition of SB 908, Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act of 2016, to the House Appropriations Committee on March 14, 2016.

During the lengthy hearing, Committee members discussed the legislation at length with Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn, and subsequently questioned Mr. Sanderson on the county perspective. During the hearing, the bill sponsor (Senator DeGrange) expressed his willingness to “make the bill better,” and multiple Committee members offered similar comments. Mr. Sanderson was instructed, at the witness stand, to “get your pen ready” to contribute to possible bill amendments.

The bill as introduced would subject major state transportation projects to a detailed scoring system during their consideration for inclusion in the state’s Consolidated Transportation Plan.
Counties are concerned that the bill’s detailed provisions may marginalize local input, overlook regional or demographic variations in transportation needs, and under-value safety as a driving factor in project approval.

An identical cross-filed bill, HB 1013, was heard on March 1 in the House.

For more on 2016 MACo legislation, visit the Legislative Database.