The Maryland Public Policy Institute
Prioritizing proposed transportation projects using an objective, analytical scoring system makes good sense in principle. But Maryland’s new scoring law, Chapter 36, constitutes a misuse of this principle. In their zeal to emphasize a few questionable policy goals in the scoring system, Maryland lawmakers lost sight of the central rationale for transportation projects, namely to support efficient mobility, enabling us to get ourselves and our belongings where they need to go speedily, conveniently, reliably, and efficiently. Chapter 36’s scoring system is heavily biased toward a small number of commuter-oriented transit trips at the expense of roads, which serve about 90 percent of the trips taken in Maryland. Further distortions are introduced by the law’s requirement that projects be weighted by the populations of the counties in which the projects would take place. This would concentrate virtually all of Maryland’s transportation money in just four of the state’s 24 political jurisdictions.
ECONOMIC & FISCAL POLICY