From the office of Del. Mary-Dulany James:
Last week was another eventful one in Annapolis. The budget process is accelerating, and many other pieces of legislation are moving forward. One piece of legislation that I am particularly engaged in is a bill instituting a Fast Track Process for development projects.
I introduced this legislation last year, but withdrew it as a courtesy to the Governor, who had hoped to implement it through Executive Order. Because, unfortunately, that did not happen, I have introduced the bill again. It is my hope that either the bill passes or the Governor does in fact enact a meaningful Fast Track Process.
As most of you will recall, the Fast Track Process helps speed up the process of government issued permits so that new development (offices, retail, buildings and even roads) that has already been approved at the local level can move forward without unnecessary delay. This will go a long way toward encouraging private investment and private job creation. Both are good for our economy and citizenry – putting people back to work.
Below is a copy of the letter I sent out to key individuals who will be helping support the bill, provide written testimony, appear as witnesses in Annapolis and work with the business community to keep Maryland a leader in the nation as we come out of this recession together, better than before.
I hope these updates are helpful in keeping you informed about what I am doing here in Annapolis. As always, I hope to hear from you soon and that you will take the time to share with me the issues that are most important to you. When you are in Annapolis please stop by!
Very Truly Yours,
February 18, 2011
Re: Fast Track Process for State Highway Administration and Maryland Department of the Environment Permits
To Whom It May Concern,
Thank you for agreeing to be a part of my efforts to pass fast tracking legislation. As we discussed, last year I sponsored HB 1552, which was designed to create a Fast Track Process for development projects in the context of receiving timely and expedited permits from the State Highway Authority and Maryland Department of Environment. That bill had the full support of the “Blue Dog Caucus” (BDC – an informal name for a group of centrist legislators that among other things pay particular interest to business and economic needs in our state) as well as the Speaker of the House. Soon after the Bill was introduced, the Governor met with me and the BDC asking that we allow him to make the first attempt at creating such a fast tracking system at the state level. We had three or four meetings before the 2010 session ended. Ultimately as a courtesy to the Governor, after having a hearing on the matter, we withdrew the bill with the understanding that the Governor would achieve this worthy goal through executive order.
Between last session and this session that did not occur. As such, along with a significant number of members of the BDC, this year I re-submitted fast tracking legislation, HB 474. As I write this letter, we are having ongoing meetings with the Governor’s office. The Governor’s office feels confident that this year the State will be able to accomplish a Fast Track Process by Executive Order. While I hope this will come to fruition, and I can withdraw this bill, either way, I am hoping we can bring about significant change to the pace of Maryland development through fast tracking before the end of 2011.
Your involvement is needed to help advance this legislation. You have agreed to participate as a witness and write letters of testimony and send letters of support to others.
The more you promote this legislation, by contacting members of the business community, the more likely this bill will pass so we can get an efficient fast tracking system in place.
Please see the enclosed documents pertaining to the bill:
1. HB 474, this year’s bill;
2. HB 1552, last year’s bill;
3. the Fiscal Note from last year’s bill;
4. “Governor Martin O’Malley Announces Maryland Made Easy” Press Release;
5. Governor’s Task Force on Highway Access Permits Q&A;
6. Draft Executive Order regarding Fast Tracking;
7. Report of the State Highway Access Permit Stakeholder Review Group;
8. Access Permit Stakeholder Review Group Final Recommendation Report.
Again, thank you for your support, and I look forward to working with you on this bill.
Very Truly Yours,
Harford and Cecil Counties