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    Candidates for Governor Answer Traffic Question

    Thursday, August 20, 1998; Page M04

    QUESTION 3: Traffic congestion is frequently cited as a major concern of commuters and other drivers in the Washington area. What would you do as governor to address their concerns?

    Parris N. Glendening (D):
    Both of our metropolitan regions suffer from traffic congestion. There is no single answer to solving this challenge; rather, we must consider innovative new approaches. The transportation planning decisions we make now must consider the needs of our commuters and our businesses but must also respect our natural resources and our neighborhoods.

    We are investing in roads, and added more than $1 billion in new projects to the Transportation Trust Fund over the past four years. We will invest in roads, and we should. But we also have to move people to mass transit, and the system we have now is not cost-effective or user-friendly. We can start making it more attractive by revamping the fare structure and using new technology that makes it easier to move from one system to another.

    We also have to make it easier for people to get where they want to go. We have mini-bus systems in places like Montgomery, Laurel and other places. But you can't get from one to another easily. Workers who live in Silver Spring can't take mass transit to a good job in College Park unless they travel into downtown Washington and all the way back out. We need to start connecting these areas.

    We must approach our traffic congestion though a combination of better land use to reduce sprawl, mass transit expansion, improvements to existing roads and construction of carefully planned new roads. If we don't, traffic will get worse.

    Ellen R. Sauerbrey (R):
    Traffic congestion in the area of the Capital Beltway already ranks as the second worst in the country, and it will only continue to get worse. Failure to address this growing gridlock will lead to paralysis and a declining quality of life for families in the region, as well as threatening the vitality of the region. Traffic congestion also increases air pollution from exhaust systems of vehicles stalled in traffic.

    The technology exists to build highways in an environmentally sensitive way. As governor I will make the tough decisions and build highways that are truly needed to reduce congestion. The ICC is at the top of my list of highway priorities. Please be assured that unlike Parris Glendening, I will not flip-flop on this issue. The ICC is a viable solution. Not only do we need to reduce commuter traffic, the ICC will connect the I-270 economic hub to the I-95 corridor to facilitate the movement of people and goods to the Port of Baltimore and BWI airport.

    In addition to reducing air pollution due to congestion, I plan to improve air quality even further through the use of state-of-the-art roadside sensors to monitor vehicle emissions and cost-effective policies to bring polluting vehicles quickly into compliance with emissions standards. I will also support Park & Ride buses that transport people from suburb to suburb as another way to reduce congestion, as well as improving convenience for many commuters. Congestion is a problem that can no longer be ignored.

    NEXT WEEK: Candidates answer a question about crime.

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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