From Christopher Boardman:
Christopher Boardman, Democrat, Candidate for Harford County Council President, attended “Maximize 2040,” an open house event hosted in Baltimore by the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board, to network with planners and others in the field to identify needs and plan solutions for the future, to the year 2040 and beyond.
“U.S. Route 40 and I-95 were adequate roads at one time, but they are not adequate now. We need to look at ways to reduce the traffic congestion on these routes,” said Boardman. ” My proposals would divert traffic from communities west of those two highways and connect central and western Harford County better with northern Baltimore County and the Baltimore metropolitan region.
“My first proposal would establish a light rail connection from the communities of Harford County such as Fallston, Bel Air, Forest Hill, Churchville and perhaps communities in Cecil County with the existing light rail system running from Hunt Valley into Baltimore City and currently terminating at Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport. Such a connection between the Harford County spur could be made at Lutherville or Timonium. In this way, commuters going north and south on the light rail from Harford County could be accommodated. The existing light rail line connects with a number of important workplaces such as the state office complex, downtown Baltimore and also the Camden Yards and M & T stadiums,” said Boardman
“My second proposal would look at the feasibility of establishing a highway link from the same areas in Harford County to either I-695 or I-83. This would save a huge amount of traveling time and distance especially for those traveling west toward Towson, Reisterstown, west or downtown Baltimore or traveling north on I-83. At the same time, traffic flow along U.S. 40 and I-95 would be reduced accordingly.”
These proposals will be environmentally friendly. Light rail helps reduce carbon emissions in addition to relieving congestion on highways. Light rail also is generally less costly to construct and by reducing traffic on the highways, saves on new highway construction and maintenance costs.
The candidate noted that these solutions will not be achieved immediately. “In fact, funding will be hard to obtain. but the process needs to be started as soon as possible, because congestion along the existing routes is only going to worsen before the needed solutions are obtained. 2040 is already too far off for viable solutions. I do not look forward to worsening congestion and traffic jams in the interim.”
In talking with planners and administrators with the Maryland Department of Transportation and other agencies, Boardman learned that funding of such processes involves federal and state monies, amounting to as much as 90 percent, with the remaining 10 percent paid by the local jurisdiction.
“We can start thinking and planning our next moves now, without even any money committed,” said Boardman. “If I am elected county council president, we can initiate hearings that will feature key players in planning our transportation infrastructure, as well as soliciting the input of members of the public. Hearings can help foster the conversation. And once the county gives a sense of clear direction, state planners can do feasibility studies and site plans, again at minimal cost. This will be far less expensive to initiate sooner than later. I look forward to being an advocate in this process.”