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State Legislative Wins: Support for Climate Action, Vision Zero and Nixing Noisy Vehicles

State aid for improvements to David Scull Park and legislation supporting the city’s affordable housing, climate action and Vision Zero efforts were among wins for Rockville during the Maryland General Assembly session that concluded April 8.

The city’s Climate Action Plan sets goals for equitably reducing greenhouse gases and preparing the community to adapt to a changing climate. State lawmakers approved the Brighter Tomorrow Act, which removes barriers to installing net-metered small solar systems and addresses the Climate Action Plan goal of increasing access to affordable, reliable, clean energy.

Lawmakers also approved legislation authorizing the state Department of Transportation to designate a Vision Zero coordinator to hold quarterly meetings of representatives of state transportation agencies, analyze transportation infrastructure reviews following pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities, and advise the governor and state and local agencies about Vision Zero and traffic and roadway safety.

Maryland and Rockville have both set a goal of zero roadway deaths or serious injuries by 2030. A bill to make it easier for SHA to decrease speed limits on state highways within city boundaries — so-called urban highways — passed in the House but did not receive a Senate hearing.

Rockville supported two bills that won approval as part of Gov. Wes Moore’s affordable housing legislative package. One creates a state entity to provide financial assistance for redevelopment and investment in low-income communities.

The other creates an office to educate and advocate for renters, establishing a tenants’ bill of rights and provisions to protect renters from certain evictions and to limit the cost of security deposits.

Lawmakers approved $250,000 for David Scull Park Improvements Project, which will include Americans with Disabilities Act-related enhancements, a new pavilion, the removal of a storage building, storm pipe renovation and ornamental fencing.

Requests for $500,000 for the Rockville Swim and Fitness Center and for $175,000 for the county to renovate and preserve the historic Lincoln High School went unfulfilled.

Lawmakers also did not support legislation, backed by the Maryland Municipal League and Rockville, to authorize local governments to create a special 2% admissions and amusement tax on sales of food and beverage for on-site consumption.

In a win for Rockville, lawmakers approved a two-year pilot program for Montgomery and Prince George’s counties to use noise abatement monitoring systems to help crack down on excessive noise from motor vehicles. The systems measure noise and take photos or videos of a vehicle’s rear license plate, producing a citation that can be mailed to the vehicle owner.

For more information, contact Linda Moran at [email protected] or 240-314-8115.

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Rockville Reports is the official publication of the City of Rockville, published at City Hall, 111 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850-2364.