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By neglecting transit, Hogan courts climate change disaster

By neglecting transit, Hogan courts climate change disaster
Road work along Route 22 in Aberdeen in Harford County earlier this year. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF / Baltimore Sun)

The fact that Gov. Larry Hogan’s climate change plan doesn’t include mass transit funding means that it is inadequate to the challenge it is meant to address, and the fact that it does include funding for additional highway construction makes it a farce (“Critics fault Maryland Gov. Hogan’s plan for cutting greenhouse gases as late, lax,” July 19). His plan is not just a failure of leadership but also a missed opportunity to make changes that would benefit our communities for reasons beyond that of addressing climate change.

,Marylanders have shown they want alternatives to sitting in traffic in cars, and we need a pause to a 75-year-old strategy of knocking down buildings, dividing communities and bulldozing wild land in a war against traffic that is unwinnable. A change in approach that prioritizes investment in public transit over subsidizing cars benefits everyone. Each new person who is willing and able to get on a bus or train for a commute means one less car on the road, which benefits those who remain in their cars as well as those who make the switch. And everyone benefits from a timeout on development policies that make our land ugly, hot and financially unproductive.

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These changes are necessary to address climate change, as Americans use far more carbon per person than practically any other country, a distinction we have earned primarily because of our transportation and land use habits. While changing this reality will be a long-term job, any climate change plan that doesn’t address this central fact is not worthy of its name. For decades, our transportation planning has reflected Governor Hogan’s single-minded focus on building more roads for more cars. The results are clear: traffic and commuting times are worse than ever and the natural end state to this strategy is even more miserable commuters living in a state that is a glorified parking lot.

It is time to stop the insanity, try a different approach and honestly address the reality of climate change.

Phil Lovegren and Drew Dupuy, Baltimore

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