Friday, October 27, 2006

Dumb Growth Ehrlich

from Dan Rodricks at the Sun:

In the debate that will air tomorrow night, Governor Ehrlich claims not to know what Martin O'Malley is talking about when the mayor says this:

"How costly is it for the mom and dad who spend more time in traffic on I-270 each day than they do with their kids? If we don't start making better investments in transportation to benefit the whole state including Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore, the future growth that is coming is going to determine Maryland's character rather than Maryland's character determining future growth."

Says the dismissive Ehrlich: "I don't understand what that means."

I'll tell you what it means, governor. It means if we don't manage how we develop the land and plan roads as Maryland's population grows, Maryland's character will be forever changed, and not for the better. We're going to have one sprawling mess on our hands.

It's not hard to understand. There's a reason why Maryland established critical areas around the bay for protection. There's a reason why, in most opinion surveys, Marylanders say they want development to slow down and for Smart Growth principles to prevail.

Of course, we shouldn't be terribly surprised by Ehrlich's attitude. He abolished the state's Smart Growth office and, in recent months, during a major test of both critical areas and Smart Growth principles, the governor took a walk . . . . He took no position on the Blackwater Resort project near the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge and Cambridge. Fortunately, Maryland's Critical Areas Commission said no to such dumb growth. At least someone in state government understood what was at stake.

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