By Maryland Senator Roy Dyson
The issue that has dominated the news this week has been the findings of the Iraq Study Group report.
One of the recommendations was how important it is that the United States engage in diplomatic talks with the countries surrounding Iraq.
This recommendation struck me when I thought about our transportation problems in Southern Maryland.
I see no reason why we cant get all of our local leaders in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince Georges and St. Marys County together to discuss our traffic problems in our area. That is why I introduced Senate Bill 281 -Commission to Study Southern Maryland Transportation Needs --during the 2005 General Assembly Session. This legislation passed through the legislature, but was vetoed by the governor. Fortunately for our region, the governors veto was overridden and the bill became law. Senate Bill 281 was considered so important by our two other Southern Maryland Senators - Mike Miller and Thomas Mac Middleton—that they co-sponsored it.
On the floor of the House of Delegates, Environmental Matters Chair Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore City) called it a model for future transportation studies across the state.
This is the time of year when people are having Christmas parties at their homes or offices. If there is a lull in conversation, one way you can get everyone in the room to talk is to bring up transportation in Southern Maryland.
Start with morning or evening rush hour traffic on Route 4 in Prince Frederick, the gridlock and concerns about safety on the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge, backups in Brandywine and Waldorf, the age of the Governor Harry Nice Bridge and you and your friends will go on for quite some time comparing notes about various traffic nightmares youve endured.
Since the bills passage, people have asked me the status of where we are with the legislation. While I have been frustrated that politics has held this bill up longer than necessary, I am starting to see this blue ribbon commission finally coming to fruition.
Prince Georges County was the first to name a member in Council-woman Marilynn Bland. Now, Charles and St. Marys County have named members after the election.
Commissioner Gary Hodge is representing Charles and Commissioner Larry Jarboe is representing St. Marys County. I am currently waiting to see who will represent Calvert County after their new board is sworn in later this month. Anne Arundels representative is also still pending.
The Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland has an update regarding this Commission on its December 13 agenda.
It is vital that this Commission come together to discuss issues since we are the fastest growing area in the state.
Some people have asked me why Anne Arundel and Prince Georges County representatives are sitting on a Southern Maryland transportation needs bill. All you have to do is take a trip up or down 210, Route 5 or Route 2/4 during rush hour into Anne Arundel or Prince Georges to see why they need to be included. Some of the biggest nightmares for Southern Marylanders commuting to the Washington-Metropolitan area, Annapolis or Baltimore occur on those roadways.
I am anxious for this group to meet because I know they will compile a comprehensive study that will recommend how we can better get around our congested roadways so that we dont spend so much time in traffic. There are few things more frustrating then waiting in a long line of congestion. Instead of this useless waste of time, we should be at homes with our families or getting to work on time in a good state of mind rather than cursing the ride in.