We Need More Lanes*!

Maryland Gov. Announces a projected $5M EIS studying the replacement for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge

As the Washington Post reports, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan recently announced that the state would study whether, where and how to build a replacement for the {scary, aging, traffic-plagued, absolutely vital} Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Officially, the bridge is known as the “William Preston Lane, Jr., Memorial Bridge,” and it adorns the Maryland Transportation Authority’s website banner.

But, as users know, the Bay Bridge is many things to many people and long ago stopped being the triumph of a Maryland Governor who insisted on starting its construction back in the ’40s when it seemed quite impossible that it could be financed or built.

For NEPA enthusiasts, this announcement is cause to ponder: where should a replacement of the Bay Bridge be built?  North of the BB?  South?  Drivers will tell: location will decide who will be most advantaged (Marylanders, NoVas, DC commuters, etc.).  But traffic aficionados will tell you this: make it bigger and the Bridge’s congestion woes will only be *solved* temporarily at best.  Once drivers learn about new capacity in the system, the ensuing volume shift will beget more congestion.  We’ll be watching this impact statement as it unfolds.

{Image: the current Bay Bridge courtesy of Wikipedia}

I teach environmental, natural resources, and administrative law at Penn State Law. Before teaching I was an enforcement lawyer at U.S. EPA. Along the way I've done work for environmental nonprofits and written a fair bit about NEPA.
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