ARTMA Response to Comments April 2018
ARTMA Response to MdTA, April 2018
ARTMA, the Annapolis Regional Transportation Management Association, has reviewed the presentation and material associated with The Bay Crossing Study. Our review has created major concerns about the process and methodologies that will be employed in this NEPA assessment:
- ARTMA’s primary concern is the lack of inclusion at the very outset of the most impacted of all “stake holders” Anne Arundel County, Queen Anne’s County, and the City of Annapolis! The citizens of these three governmental entities live and “breath” the congestion and air quality manifested along the existing Chesapeake Bay Bridge corridor. Their voices if unheard at the very outset, discredit the scope and purpose of the study. These governments of the Annapolis Region should be major players not just several of many “stake holders.”
- Transparency of the process is essential and appears to be lacking. Who are the consultants working with the MdTA? Why is the citizen feed-back being compressed and pushed rapidly? Critical action items such as a request for comments in proximity to the Thanksgiving holiday and again just before Christmas make it difficult for a robust response for many quarters. This lack of transparency is concerning especially for such a major far-reaching NEPA Study.
- ARTMA believes that a critical component of this effort is the absolute need for a complete and detailed Origin and Destination Study. A truncated License Plate Survey will not provide sufficient data. Many trips along this corridor have neither origin nor destination within the Annapolis Region. During Summer months recreational trips substantially increase the non-Annapolis Region traffic volumes. Congestion levels are substantial and long lasting now!
- The “Down-Select” process anticipates the selection of a single alternative for further analysis in Tier-Two from ten or more alternatives put forth in Tier-One. This begs several questions:
- How can any down-select process go from 10 or more to one alternative with no interim candidates possessing worthy elements in need further analysis?
- What level of detail will be employed to Down-Select?
- Why not anticipate a multi-tiered Down-Select?
- Will there be consideration of “Lost Opportunity” for growth along each alternative corridor? As an example: A hypothetical crossing South of the existing crossing will result in substantial economic growth along that new corridor. This “value added, or opportunity lost” should be part of the analytical Down-Select process.
- Will the value of two crossings be part of the evaluation compared to an alternative that retains only the existing single crossing? Two crossing alternatives with two distinct transportation corridors will facilitate bridge maintenance, corridor accident mitigation, congestion management, and National Security providing redundancy in case of terror incidents?
This NEPA effort is aimed at solutions for the existing and predictable congestion, air quality, and economic vitality of the entire study area. The Annapolis Region, more than any other region, will have to live with the consequences of solutions implemented through this process for many generations to come!