The State of Maryland and the Department of Transportation are looking into a public/private partnership to expand commuter lanes on Routes 270 and 495 in Montgomery County.
In an earlier time, I became actively involved in politics when I discovered the local Planning Board was considering turning my cozy residential neighborhood with little traffic into a bypass for a commercial district. Fortunately, due to a lot of effort and activism, we were successful in convincing the Board and City Council of the negative impacts of such a decision and the neighborhood was preserved.
I encourage all of you to continue to make your voices heard in as many ways as you can conceive and to muster as much political support as you can.
Some of you are concerned about potentially losing your homes to eminent domain, some are concerned about increased air and noise pollution, still others are concerned we are focusing on traffic when we should be focusing on the environment.
I contacted the study group and was informed that they are reviewing all of the inputs and will release preliminary results by the end of the year with follow-up public meetings early next year. These public meeting will give you an chance to voice your concerns.
I walked with Governor Hogan in the Labor Day Parade in Kensington. There were many people there who voiced their opposition to the expansion of 270 and 495 in Montgomery County, fearful that they would lose their homes. I was standing right next to Governor Hogan when he spoke to members of this group and unequivocally said he would not take their homes. I believe Governor Hogan’s promise and agree to support their concerns.
I am aware of associations who asked for the State of Maryland to re-foliate areas near the proposed expansion highway and to promise to build the sound walls for noise protections. I support those requests.
The issue of environment vs. traffic is much more complicated.
Studies indicate that expanding traffic lanes only relieves congestion temporarily while encouraging more traffic. More cars, trucks and buses means more greenhouse gases unless we adopt the recommendations of the Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The IPCC warns us that we have to reduce greenhouse emissions by 50% by 2030 – 12 years from now.
The scientists recommend that individuals lead the way in doing everything possible to reduce emissions –  by optimizing our intake of food so there is less thrown away, switching from meat and dairy products with more locally sourced food, converting as quickly as possible to electric cars, walking and cycling, reducing use of planes by videoconferencing, using the washing line instead of tumble dryer, increasing the insulation on our homes, etc.
One of the other IPCC recommendations is that we elect politicians who will place a high priority on meeting the goal of 50% reduction by 2030. I support this recommendation.
If elected, I will fight for the House to establish a new dedicated committee to bring the resources and knowledge together to develop a plan and pass legislation that will achieve this goal for the US. We are in the best position to lead the world in providing the technology and know-how on what other countries can do. This leadership will not only create new job opportunities in the US but this effort will extend our influence and reach in political and national security areas as well.