FEBRUARY 13, 2013CONTACT: Stewart Schwartz, (202) 675-0016, ext. 121, (703) 599-6437 – cell
The TRIP group (“The Road Information Program”) just issued its annual report on the bad condition of state roads, featuring Maryland and other states and conveniently timed for the state General Assembly debates about transportation funding.
“We agree with TRIP that Maryland’s roads and bridges are in need of repair, but TRIP’s primary recommendation has traditionally been highway expansion,” said Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth. “This simply doesn’t track. Too often when we see the alarm raised about aging infrastructure, we see new funding go into capacity expansion even as the maintenance needs continue to mount.”
Schwartz noted that instead of focusing on maintaining and repairing aging infrastructure, in its April 2012 report TRIP recommended that Maryland focus on budget-busting mega-projects like a massive expansion of the Beltway between the American Legion and Woodrow Wilson bridges and spending over $1 billion to widen Route 5 in rural Prince George’s County down to Charles County. In addition, former County Executive Doug Duncan who just co-released TRIP’s 2013 report, was a leading champion of the now lightly traveled $3 billion Intercounty Connector (ICC), a project which has consumed funding that could have gone to maintain and repair Maryland’s roads and bridges.
“The twin problems of our aging transportation infrastructure and our congestion are best addressed by a ‘fix-it-first’ policy of first investing in maintaining and repairing aging roads, bridges and transit, and second, by providing effective alternatives to sitting in traffic by investing in high-capacity transit, linking efficient, transit-oriented development,” said Cheryl Cort, CSG’s Policy Director.
“The Coalition for Smarter Growth is supporting the “Get Maryland Moving” coalition and is seeking transportation funding focused on transit, maintenance and local roads,” said Kelly Blynn, CSG Transit Organizer.
According to TRIP’s website:
Founded in 1971, TRIP is a nonprofit organization that researches, evaluates and distributes economic and technical data on surface transportation issues. TRIP promotes transportation policies that relieve traffic congestion, improve road and bridge conditions, improve air quality, make surface travel safer and enhance economic productivity. TRIP is sponsored by insurance companies, equipment manufacturers, distributors and suppliers, businesses involved in highway and transit engineering and construction, labor unions, and organizations concerned with an efficient and safe surface transportation network.
The Coalition for Smarter Growth is the leading nonprofit organization addressing where and how the Washington region grows, partnering with communities in planning for the future, and offering solutions to the interconnected challenges of housing, transportation, energy and the environment. We ensure that transportation and development decisions accommodate growth while revitalizing communities, providing more housing and travel choices, and conserving our natural and historic areas. The Coalition’s website is www.smartergrowth.net.