Greater Baltimore Committee president and CEO Donald C. Fry is voicing GBC support for legislative measures that would nurture economic development near transit stations and authorize the creation of special development zones near military bases in Maryland earmarked for growth related to federal base realignment and closure (BRAC).
In testimony submitted to the Senate Finance Committee, Fry urges lawmakers to support Senate Bill 204, an administration bill that would add transit-oriented development to the legislatively-directed priorities of the Maryland Transit Administration.
Transit-oriented development, which promotes mixed-use development around transit stations, “is a concept that has earned wide acceptance across the country,” Fry said. Nurturing the development of high-density residential space, commercial and office space and entertainment near transit stops “reduces the dependency on the automobile and highlights the benefit of transit service,” he said.
Fry also submitted testimony to the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee in support of Senate Bill 206, another administration measure, which would authorize the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development to create BRAC “revitalization and incentive” zones. Special incentives, including tax benefits, would be available for local jurisdictions to steer business development to designated zones that would be in locations compatible with the principles of Smart Growth.
“The timing for this measure is particularly appropriate” as central Maryland prepares for an influx of BRAC-related growth between 2010 and 2015. The special zones would contribute to efforts to reduce sprawl, Fry said.
The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee hearing on SB 206 is scheduled for February 27.