The Governor’s 2021 veto of a law mandating minimal funding to achieve “state of good repair” for public transportation indicates a disregard for the needs of the students, seniors, healthcare workers, and others who rely exclusively on public transit. The veto also hurts Western Maryland, which counted on funding for a study to expand MARC Rail to serve its communities, which was part of the bill. The lack of investment in Maryland’s public transportation systems in communities of need stands in direct contrast with the Governor’s public support of permanent funding for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). Sustainable, comprehensive investment in public transportation is essential from an environmental perspective in Maryland, and particularly important for our urban and underserved communities.
The Governor’s decision in May of 2021 to reduce the scope of beltway expansion was an improvement, but it should be seen in part as a triumph of dedicated advocates and media coverage rather than a significant change in policy by the Governor, and the current plan for the expansion is still problematic4.
Governor Hogan’s actions in support of electric vehicle tax credits, to advance the state’s goal of 300,000 electric cars by 2030, are appreciated, as was his dedication of funds for electric school buses. While positive, these initiatives will require significantly more investment to make a meaningful difference.