Sometimes the attorney general of this state takes positions I agree with. WTOP:
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh joined state lawmakers in Annapolis to call for an end to the practice of suspending people’s driver’s licenses because they failed to pay a court fee or fine.
Using drivers’ licenses as leverage to collect other moneys owed can be self-defeating as well as harsh, since it will often cut off debtors from holding the jobs by which they could secure the means of repayment. Glad to see Sen. Chris West (R-Baltimore County), as well as several leading Democrats, co-sponsoring this important bill:
Republican Sen. Chris West said drivers who do commit traffic infractions and can’t pay “would not get off scot-free” under the legislation. West said the state could recover the fees with civil action.
Maybe Frederick and upper Montgomery commuters won’t have to wait in endless traffic on I-270 for the next 20 years, with today’s favorable vote from Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot to proceed with a public-private partnership.
Virginia got a head start on these ideas and polls indicate most users take a positive view of the road improvements there, toll options and all. Existing law forbids reductions in current free lanes.
By the way, watch out for misuse of the transportation concept of induced demand. In proper context, it’s an uncontroversial concept: planners should be aware that expanding a highway can increase demand (whether by stimulating more trips from existing users or encouraging development) which means that congestion will not be relieved by as much as a static analysis of current vehicle flow per minute would suggest. That’s all it says. It does not, by itself, predict that the induced demand will be so big as to absorb all the new road capacity. If it always did that, there would be no such thing as unclogged newer thoroughfares.
Midterm campaign edition:
- An issue in some races: “Critique of Maryland Congestion-Relief Plan Rests on Very Bad Logic [Austill Stuart] So much for the “Lexus Lanes” epithet: “Congestion pricing is not just slanted toward the elite” [Tyler Cowen]
- Brian Frosh is part of a state-AG task force that subpoenas and investigates private groups and individuals for having promoted erroneous opinions on environmental questions. Which should have been more controversial during the campaign [Mark Uncapher]
- Republican mailers assailed Dems on this issue, yet “supervised injection facilities save lives” [Jacob Sullum, Reason]
- Sen. Ron Young (D-Frederick), at 12:55: stop saying we raised taxes 46 times, I counted and we only raised them 15 times [FNP podcast debate with Craig Giangrande]
- In Maryland as elsewhere, “single payer in one state” is more of a political stunt than a practical program [Todd Eberly]
- Poor showings at Tuesday’s polls for many lawmakers rated highly by Maryland Business for Responsive Government could spell trouble ahead on business issues [MBRG]