ANNAPOLIS, MD – ANS written testimony to the Maryland Board of Public Works regarding Gov. Hogan’s highway expantion plans:
Good morning Board of Public Works Members,
For 122 years, Audubon Naturalist Society has inspired people to enjoy, learn about and protect nature. Today we urge the Board of Public Works to vote against line item 23-GM that seeks to amend the P3 process for soliciting developers before the Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) are released. The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) have not provided adequate or transparent information regarding the environmental and financial impacts of highway and the bridge expansions.
It is the Board’s duty to wait for the EISs to be released before proceeding in securing implementation partnerships and contracts. We consider these studies the eyes of the environment. In today’s climate crisis, adding more “luxury” lanes for cars is neither an equitable nor an environmentally sound solution. We contend that a plan that prioritizes climate action is the only route to satisfaction. The state must seek transit-focused solutions that reduce traffic congestion while reducing greenhouse gases. Adding more lanes will increase the number of impervious surfaces which consequently degrade the water quality used by people and wildlife alike. Our precious local streams impacted by these changes include Rock Creek, Sligo Creek, the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Without transparency, financial review and EISs, the Board lacks critical information needed for approval. On behalf of ANS and our 10,000 members, I exhort the Board to act responsibly and vote against line item 23-GM today.
ANS Maryland Conservation Advocate
About ANS: Throughout its history, ANS has championed nature for all by playing a pivotal role in conserving our region’s iconic natural places from development including the C&O Canal, Dyke Marsh and, most recently, Ten Mile Creek. Past ANS member and board president, Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is credited with launching the now global environmental movement. ANS‘s nature experts provide hundreds of opportunities each year for children and adults to enjoy, learn about, and protect the environment.