Maryland Transportation projects consent bill SB422 gets mixed reviews

Local leaders and conservationists are throwing their support behind a bill intended to give all Maryland counties a say in state transportation projects within their jurisdictions, while transportation and planning consultants remain opposed.

The legislation comes as the state is planning a major network of express toll lanes and is pondering where to put a second Chesapeake Bay bridge crossing.

“Some counties may want a new bay bridge. Our county commissioners and citizens do not. We see loss of quality of life and gridlock along our main lifeline,” American Chestnut Land Trust Executive Director Greg Bowen said at a Feb. 27 hearing before the House Finance Committee.

Bowen advocated for Senate Bill 422, introduced by Sen. Will Smith (D–Montgomery), which if passed will expand consent authority on the construction of a toll road, toll highway or toll bridge to all counties. Currently, only nine counties on the Eastern Shore have the authority.