Maryland needs a better transportation system to be successful in the 21st century. Creating a comprehensive plan is necessary. The plan should have the following goals:
- Make public transportation affordable, accessible, convenient, effective and safe.
- Reduce the carbon footprint for transportation.
- Encourage mass transit opportunities
- Reduce traffic on existing roadways
- Invest in correcting bottle necks that impede traffic.
To address Transportation issues, a broader approach to community outreach is required. Too often transportation is limited by the boundaries of a county, city or other jurisdiction. In fact, decisions should be driven by cost effectively getting travelers to their destination.
One thing is clear: we cannot build our way out of the current transportation snarls. Drivers have learned that bigger road ways have not reduced traffic or delays.
So, we need a 21st century solution that will include more rail and group travel – buses and other options. We also will need to add a bike option as millennials and others are changing the way that people get to their destinations.
In addition to saving travelers time and expense, the new transportation system will also be a boon for jobs and business as builders of the new system will get to work providing creative ways of getting us from home to work to school and to recreation.
Too often a transportation plan has been stymied by the cost. But the cost of doing nothing is also very high as the average commuter wastes hours of time each day.
A 21st century transportation system will propel Maryland to the forefront of recruiting big firms to join our state and to bring in a new generation of the work force looking for mass transit options as part of their lifestyle choices.
All of us have a role to play in getting a 21st Century transportation system moving forward. We need to:
- Develop a deeper understanding of regional transportation issues and the critical role transportation plays in our lives.
- Educate fellow citizens about transportation and its important linkages to quality of life.
- Educate fellow citizens about the importance of investing in transportation service and infrastructure.
- Become empowered advocates who implement their own action plans related to transportation.
It’s time for policy makers, business leaders, and the public make informed decisions about transportation choices and transportation infrastructure investments in our region.
Unfortunately, right now, there is little planning. Too often intimidated by the cost – as if the entire system will be done in only a few years – the plans are not fully formed and nothing gets done. We need plans, we need public input and we need action and investment to make our state the leader in transportation, as we were in previous generations. Let’s get going.