There is a new push to begin the process of building a new Bay Bridge, but the governor says that's not going to happen.
In addition to the usual traffic jams, there have been two fatal crashes on the Bay Bridge in the past two years.
A 2006 study on traffic capacity found that by 2025, 135,000 vehicles will use the bridge per day – 60 percent more than it's designed for. Republican State Senator E.J. Pipkin says that will lead to a six-hour back-up every day of the week -- and 12 hours on weekends.
The first step toward building a new bridge would be an environmental impact study. ‘The citizens who use that bridge have paid for the idea that we should at least take a hard look at whether we want to build a third span or not,’ Sen. Pipkin said. ‘We need to move forward'
On Tuesday, Governor O'Malley said a study isn't needed, because he has no intention of starting the process of building a new bridge while he's in office. ‘We don't have plans anywhere in our six-year capital plan to build a third span on the bridge,’ he said.
Instead Governor O'Malley is calling for better land-use policies. ‘With all sorts of people driving to so-called affordability only to find that they can't afford the gas to get from their new home into their place of work,’ he said. ‘And that sort of sprawl has happened on the other side of the Bay Bridge.’
Senator Pipkin says land-use policies won't solve the problem, and if the governor won't support a new bridge, he should spell out mass transit options instead. ‘There's going to be a back-up that goes from the toll plazas all the way back to Washington,’ he said. ‘It will probably happen in the next year. Is that what we really want for the citizens of Maryland? I don't think so’
Senator Pipkin has introduced a bill that would force the administration to begin the environmental impact study. It's not clear how much support that will have in the democratically-controlled State Senate and House of Delegates.
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