Smart Growth/ Smart Transportation
Remarks by Secretary John Porcari
Smart Growth/Smart Transportation Conference
University of Maryland, University College
Thank you Parker.
It is a pleasure to be here today to talk about Smart Growth and Transportation.
[THANK PARKER/SHA STAFF AND RON KREITNER AND MOP STAFF FOR PULLING TOGETHER TO MAKE CONFERENCE HAPPEN.]
As planners and transportation professionals,
- we all have come to recognize the direct relationship between transportation and land use.
- But this was not always the case.
Several years ago,
- our department of transportation was like almost every other across this Country.
- Construct new highways, widen existing ones, build rail lines, airports, ports, study this, design that.
If a roadway became congested,
- widen it / build new ones / construct bypasses.
- The overwhelming priority was to move more vehicles.
That philosophy only got us so far.
- Marylands population growth outpaced the departments ability to build new roadways and transit lines.
- Congestion worsened. (D.C. area #2)
- Vehicle miles traveled exploded.
- A vicious and destructive cycle evolved trying to keep pace with growth and dependence on the automobile.
Most importantly, we had no solid link between transportation and land use.
- We did not take advantage of the fact that our transportation decisions created incentives and disincentives for investment and growth.
As transportation and land use decision makers,
- you must be asking yourselves:
- "How do we get off this treadmill?"
- "Is there a new approach we can take?"
- Thanks to the efforts of Governor Glendening, our
- $2 billion transportation budget is a tool of Smart Growth.
- In fact, all of the projects in our capital program support Smart Growth.
It is important to note that Smart Growth does not mean NO GROWTH.
- We will actually see an increased level of funding for transportation projects,
- just redirected.
Smart Growth IS a framework for investing public dollars,
- It is NOT:
- the State of Maryland saying you cant build outside priority funding areas.
It IS the State of Maryland saying: "You can do it, but we wont pay for it anymore."
- Not for schools,
- not for sewer and water,
- and of course, not for roads.
But to be quite honest with you,
- I feel we have not done a good enough job reaching out to all of you to emphasize the benefits of Smart Growth
- and the crucial role transportation plays in this initiative.
- That message of what we will NOT pay for anymore has overshadowed what transportation projects we ARE paying for and what investments we WILL make to revitalize communities and improve the quality of life for our citizens.
Unfortunately, the positive aspects of Smart Growth and transportation:
- Our strategy,
- Projects that have dramatically improved the quality of life for citizens living in your counties, cities and town,
- And our vision for a better future,
- are lost by negative news and misconceptions about Smart Growth.
If I asked everyone here right now,
- What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the phrase Smart Growth and Smart Transportation?
- Many people here would probably think of the Westminster or Manchester Bypasses or the other bypass projects we removed from our transportation program earlier this year.
Instead of thinking about the revitalization of MD 34 in Sharpsburg,
- MD 140 in Reisterstown,
- MD 314 in Greensboro,
- transit station development,
- our sidewalk initiative,
- or the millions we have added for other projects over the last several years.
If you total up the money we would have spent to build the highway bypass projects we removed from our transportation program,
- you come up with more then $300 million.
- I ask you isnt it better to dedicate this hard-earned taxpayer money on revitalizing these existing towns and others throughout the State?
- Instead of bypassing them with redundant roadways that only support more sprawl.
Too often, the message being delivered when it comes to Smart Growth and Transportation focuses on what Smart Growth is NOT instead of what it IS.
- Let me clear up some of the misconceptions out there.
- Because believe me, I hear them all the time.
- That is why this conference is so important.
- Smart Growth supports and enhances our established communities,
- preserves our natural resources and agricultural areas,
- and saves taxpayers the costs of new infrastructure
Smart Growth is designed to change past land-use patterns through better planning for future growth
- and by re-focusing that growth within our established communities.
It WAS not
- and IS not,
- our intention to STOP growth.
- Or stop building transportation projects.
As a matter of fact, we now have the highest six-year capital program in the States history [$7.3 B]
- And the highest highway program ever [$4.1B/6yr.]
- System preservation still #1 priority.
The old patterns of land use have increased air pollution despite the introduction of dramatically cleaner cars,
- cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars for new, often redundant, highway and infrastructure.
- In one instance we were actually studying building a bypass of a bypass.
- Does that make sense?
The same principle of using the States budget to direct growth,
- applies to our transportation budget.
- We are a tool for Smart Growth.
And for Smart Growth to be successful,
- we must recognize that,
- USE IT,
- and better link transportation to land use.
We have built a solid foundation.
- We have planted the seeds for Smart Transportation.
- But we will never realize success without YOU.
Smart Growth and Smart Transportation is not about what the State has done or can do,
- it is about partnership.
- It is about what we can do together.
I hope you leave here today with a better understanding of what Smart Growth and Smart Transportation are
- Because they are about opportunities.
- Opportunities for a better future.
- And opportunity is knocking on each and every one of your doors.