Bay Bridge Corridor NEPA Study comments
Bay Bridge Corridor
The Bay Bridge Corridor embraced by Anne Arundel and Queen Anne’s Counties is the only roadway crossing the Chesapeake Bay between Norfolk VA 170 miles to the South and the crossings of the C&D Cannel 60 miles to the North. As such, a substantial and continually increasing proportion of traffic using this corridor has neither origin nor destination in Anne Arundel County or Queen Anne’s County. These two counties are principal stake holders in whatever corridors and or alternate scenarios emerge.
The NEPA process currently underway is required by law to analyze other potential corridors on a comparative basis with the existing Bay Bridge Corridor. The Team of agencies, interested parties, and stake holders is led by the Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA). The primary Stake Holders Anne Arundel and Queen Anne’s Counties are not part of this process. This is distressing by itself but made considerably worse by the NEPA Team’s intention to down-select to a single corridor without further input from outside of the NEPA Team. Anne Arundel and Queen Anne’s Counties are essentially disenfranchised.
The situation described above presents two concerns: The first is, issues of safety, congestion, and mobility currently experienced by the principal stake holders, that can only be articulated effectively by the Stake Holders themselves, are not included in the process. And second, a corridor selection process by the NEPA Team as configured is not transparent and gives the appearance to disenfranchised stake holders of a conclusion of convenience and expediency. A process that investigates at least two corridors will of necessity include feeder routes of the corridor influence area, financial analysis that embraces true cost of retrofitting existing infrastructure to acceptable level of service standards, growth opportunity costs, and benefits of multiple crossing options such as bridge rehabilitation, regional mobility, and Homeland Security.
What ever solution emerges from the NEPA study will have consequences for generations to come. For this reason alone, a thorough and open analysis must have consensus from all Stake Holders.
David W. humphreys, P.E.
Executive director ARTMA