Kent Conservation and Preservation Alliance opposes SB34 sponsored by Senator Edward Reilly, Anne Arundel County. SB34 is meant to overturn certain authority of the governments of the Eastern Shore to consent to any “toll road, bridge, or highway”. Transportation 4-407 is protective and specific to the counties that would feel significant impacts of a new bay bridge crossing on its rural populations by removing farmland, impacting cultural and natural resources and increasing sprawl and growth pressures. The degree to which these impacts would be felt is far in excess of any benefits that might be received. SB34 seeks to removed critical local participation from those that have the most at stake in guiding where such a massive infrastructure would have the least impacts.
Maryland Farm Bureau also opposes SB34.
“Maryland Farm Bureau believes that the loss of local involvement in a large land taking like this is a private property right issue and the counties should have a say in where a bridge of this magnitude would be located. A project of this magnitude would need to seek areas with the least population. Without county involvement in the siting of a new bridge and road, the likelihood of significant loss to prime and productive farmland is very high.”
Kent Conservation and Preservation Alliance submitted the following letter to the Senate Finance Committee, requesting an unfavorable report. The hearing for the bill will be on January 24, 2018 at 1:00 PM.
Dear Finance Committee Members:
Kent Conservation and Preservation Alliance is opposed to SB 34, titled Chesapeake Bay Bridge Crossing – Eastern Shore Local Government Consent – Repeal. There is ample evidence that the current statute, Transportation article 4-407, was originally enacted following the completion of the second span of the bay bridge. In the aftermath, the negative impacts on the Eastern Shore clearly alarmed the citizens. The current law provides some measure of oversight and prevents construction of another span without sufficient and meaningful consent from the affected Eastern Shore counties.
SB34 is directly aimed at trying to rescind this consent. A project that will have unduly large impacts on the rural counties of the Eastern Shore surely needs concurrence by the governments in the affected counties. The lands on the Eastern Shore are unique and much of it contains important resources, such as shorelines, prime farm lands and cultural heritage. With the state’s power of eminent domain, the need for balance should be preserved.
Certainly, the people who have the most at stake and who have an intimate knowledge of the lands should have a voice in determining where a Maryland toll bridge and access roads will exert the least damage.
Our organization urges an unfavorable report for SB 34.
Kent Conservation and Preservation Alliance
You can submit a letter of opposition to the Finance Committee:
Thomas M Middleton <firstname.lastname@example.org>,John Astle <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org, Brian Feldman <email@example.com>, Edward Reilly <firstname.lastname@example.org>, JB Jennings <email@example.com>, Jim Rosapepe <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Katherine Klausmeier <email@example.com>, Nathaniel Oaks <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Stephen Hershey <email@example.com>, Joanne Benson <firstname.lastname@example.org>