ANNAPOLIS, MD (April 8, 2011) – Governor Martin O’Malley joined Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker today at the “Maryland Forward” policy forum on smart growth. Today’s forum served to solicit input from local residents, developers, advocates, and community officials on how best to further smarter, more sustainable growth in Maryland. Discussions focused on the environmental impact of development, the need for greater focus on transit-oriented development, and community revitalization.
“Smart growth combines the best of public and private investment and the long term vision to protect our shared natural resources,” said Governor O’Malley. “By concentrating new development and redevelopment in areas that have existing or planned infrastructure, we can create jobs, avoid sprawl, expand transportation, and protect our environment. I want to thank the participants in today’s forum for their thoughts and valuable input.”
Approximately 200 community development stakeholders joined housing officials, developers, higher education officials, and state and local elected leaders for an open forum on smart growth.
“Expanding smart growth in Maryland will boost our economy while protecting our environment and natural resources,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “By bringing all ideas to the table, today’s forum represents a valuable opportunity to develop a strategic and smart vision for our future growth. I thank Governor O’Malley and all participants for their leadership on this important issue.”
“I share the Governor’s vision for Smart Growth and have charged my Administration’s Economic Development Team to grow our County utilizing the most environmentally sustainable practices, processes, and procedures,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III.
During the rapid development of highways and suburban communities in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, our nation’s natural resources were treated as if they were unlimited and our older, established communities as if they were expendable. Suburban sprawl consumed valuable open space; devoured public funds for new infrastructure; spawned increasing traffic congestion; contributed to poor air and water quality; and fragmented the bonds of community.
The O’Malley-Brown Administration has sought to balance Maryland’s critical needs for economic growth and environmental protection by using the state budget to encourage local governments and developers to build in a more sustainable, quality of life enhancing manner. The Governor has sought to curb sprawl, preserve valuable open space, and revitalize its older communities by emphasizing incentives over regulation.
Governor O’Malley has included in the Administration’s 15 strategic goals specific benchmarks to support the basic principles of smart growth, including:
· Accelerate Efforts to Reach a Healthy Chesapeake Bay Tipping Point by 2020
· Double Maryland’s Transit Ridership by 2020
· Reduce per Capita Energy Consumption by 15% by 2015
· Increase Maryland’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard by 20% by 2022
· Reduce Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 25% by 2020
Last year, Governor O’Malley announced plans to move the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, currently located at a private campus in Crownsville, to a transit-oriented development site in Prince George’s County.
Following the State of the State address, Governor O’Malley announced a series of “Maryland Forward” local policy forums <http://www.governor.maryland.gov/mdforward.asp> to advance many of those initiatives, serving as a continuation of the “Maryland Forward” forum series before the 2011 Inauguration <http://www.discussion.maryland.gov/> . Tomorrow’s forum is the third in a series of smaller groups of local stakeholders throughout the 2011 legislative session focused on specific policy areas that will help Maryland be a winner in the new economy, protect our neighborhoods, and create jobs.