Once such initiative is being considered in Annapolis as the state legislative session races to a conclusion. The Public-Private Transportation Act of 2003, if enacted, would provide for private funding of road and bridge projects. This would open the door for private investors to fund the Intercounty Connector (ICC), other sprawl-inducing projects that provide the rationale and increase pressure for a new bridge, and perhaps the bridge itself. According to Solutions Not Sprawl," the bill could allow a privately-funded transportation project to bypass the critical environmental review which is triggered with federal funding. Currently, large federally funded transportation projects must go through a rigorous state and federal environmental review. This process allows for community input, analysis of alternatives, and a thorough environmental impact analysis. If a project is funded privately by development interests, it can bypass the rigorous federal environmental impact analysis. Even if a state regulation is triggered, the Maryland environmental regulations do not have the extensive environmental protection covering parkland and analysis of alternatives that exists in the federal regulations.
Another initiative would raise taxes and vehicle registration fees to fund County Executive Duncan's "Go Montgomery" transportation plan - called "Pave Montgomery" by some. Funds made available under the new legislation could be used for a Purpose and Need Statement for a new Potomac River crossing and the creation of a new regional transportation authority - one which could usurp local decision-making regarding a Potomac River bridge. Given that the Potomac Subregion Master Plan specifically rejected a new bridge, we strongly object to the use of tax dollars to fund these activities.
Join us at WMCCA's membership meeting on April 9th to learn the facts and what you can do to make your opinions known.
Master Plan Violation: Boswell Lane Sewer Category Change Approval - WMCCA has filed a request with the Maryland Departments of Environment and Planning asking for disapproval of a Boswell Lane sewer category change granted to R.A.M. Investing Ltd. that violated the Potomac Master Plan and the Piney Branch Sewer Restricted Access Policy. The request was filed in accordance with a little-utilized provision of the Maryland code that provides for disapproval of County Council amendments that violate local master plans.
Signs at Stream Crossings - As part of WMCCAs ongoing efforts to inform residents about the importance and location of streams and stream valleys that crisscross the Potomac subregion, and thanks to the efforts of Board member Lois Williams, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation has installed a stream identification signs at a few intersections of streams with county roads in the Potomac area. Negotiations are underway for signage at additional stream crossings. Citizens who know our area's streams will be better stewards of our water quality and environment.
Allentuck Nursery Special Exception Request - WMCCA plans to testify at the Montgomery County Board of Appeals hearing on April 7th in order to support measures that will address lighting on the site, the types of lawn furniture that will be sold, and the landscaped buffer/berm that is to be constructed.
Greenbriar Preserve and the Tompson Farm - Plans for these large proposed developments were presented at the March WMCCA Board meeting and may soon go before the Montgomery County Planning Board for approval. For further information, contact George Barnes, 301-762-6423.
WMCCA Nominating Committee - A Nominating Committee consisting of a Chair and four members will be elected by the membership at the April 9th membership meeting. The Nominating Committee will prepare a slate of officers and directors to be voted upon on at the WMCCA Annual Membership meeting on May 14th. If you are interested in serving as a member of the Nominating Committee or as an officer or board member, call Susanne Lee, 301-738-7987.