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As Long as We Remember...

August 26, 2011

Invasive State Control of Growth Part 4

Farrell Keough

In reviewing Gov Martin O’Malley’s PlanMaryland proposal, we have but one remaining area to cover. We have seen six others areas and how this proposal might affect Marylanders:


·        There is no crisis of unmanaged growth.


·        Smart Growth has been shown to have negative outcomes.


·        The state should not wrest control from localities – local government knows its own population best, not those who live in another area with a one-size-fits-all solution.


·        Justification based upon Global Warming/Climate Change has already lost a court battle, hence this is neither settled science nor a mechanism to legislate change.


·        Markets are organic by nature – the state does not have the flexibility to determine which industries will benefit the larger public.


We now move forward to this one remaining area.




While the underlying legislation requires the recommendation for circulation patterns and major transportation routes,21 PlanMaryland offers little in the way of alternatives, solutions, or even proposals short of bicycle paths and walkways. This is not some esoteric or optional requirement; this is part of the underlying legislation used to promote PlanMaryland.



Policies for a Sustainable Transportation-Land Use System


Policy 2.1 – Better coordinate transportation and land use decision-making to maximize efficiencies and infrastructure investment and to support Maryland’s environmental, social and economic sustainability.




Identify and map transportation - land use assets, issues and opportunities across the State to inform future investments as well as policies and program. 22


While the plan has already made specific proposals in many areas of regulation, one of the primary legislative requirements is still being identified. The substance of any proposals put forward in the plan promotes reduction of reliance on automobiles.


Plan Objectives


Goal 1: Concentrate development and redevelopment in towns, cities and rural centers where there is existing and planned infrastructure.


   Transportation choices – Public priorities are integrated, efficient, and economical transportation systems that serve Maryland’s economic and community centers, in ways that reduce reliance on automobiles and minimize greenhouse gas emissions. These systems include transportation options that provide mobility, convenience, and safety for all residents, including those who are disabled and/or transit dependent. 23



Forcing the public out of their automobiles will not yield the intended results. For instance, the plan notes that while “almost 80 percent of the state’s population lives within a 10-minute drive of a commuter service”,24 the public does not choose to access this alternative.


While increasing bicycle and walking areas may be pleasant options, this will not yield a solution to our transportation needs. Many professions require an automobile and day-to-day happenings like inclement weather will prevent these alternatives from being viable. In short, the public has neither embraced mass transit as a viable mechanism for travel, nor, (as detailed in the Wall Street Journal7) is the public embracing the densely populated areas necessary to facilitate these options.




As outlined by these seven areas of analysis, this plan requires significant review. Some areas are poorly reviewed, (like Transportation) while others may well be over-regulated, (like Property Rights). Concepts such as Smart Growth and regulations based upon Global Warming/Climate Change have a varied history. Well defined justifications, scientifically based proposals, legally legitimate regulations, and public desire to address any real problems put forth in this plan must be embraced by all.


This plan is radically broad in its affects and alterations upon the status quo. Changes to local authorities as well as increased regulatory actions upon property owners throughout the state have the potential to negatively affect this state for a very long time. Rash implementation cannot be the solution to any problem.


[Editor’s Note: This is the last of four parts of Mr. Keough’s analysis of PlanMaryland.]


21Maryland State Finance and Procurement Section § 5-601 – § 5-615


22Draft PlanMaryland 4-47


23 Draft PlanMaryland 3-9


24 Draft PlanMaryland 2-21


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