A rookie Montgomery County lawmaker is proposing climate legislation that could also take aim at Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s plan to widen three major Maryland highways.

Del.-elect Vaughn Stewart (D-Montgomery) plans to introduce a bill he’s calling the Transportation Climate Accountability Act of 2019. It would require a comprehensive study of the anticipated greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution of any state-funded highway project or a project being built through a public-private partnership.

The goal, Stewart said, would be to ensure both that ambient air quality standards for ozone would not be exceeded and that the project would allow the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030, as laid out by the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act of 2016.

Stewart said he was moved to act by the most recent United Nations reports on climate change, which have come with dire warnings about the warning of the planet. It was “another reminder that we must act swiftly and boldly to address climate change,” he said. “And the transportation sector generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions.”

Stewart’s legislation may have global origins but it comes accompanied with state political overtones. It would clearly take aim at Hogan’s nascent plans to widen the Capital Beltway, Interstate 270 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

Read the full report from Maryland Matters.


Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn at a news conference in Gaithersburg last year announcing a $9 billion proposal to widen the Capital Beltway, Interstate 270 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. A bill would require a greenhouse gas emissions study for every major highway project in the state. MDOT Photo