Gus Bauman Quoted in Washington Post Article on Maryland Toll Lane Proposal
Beveridge & Diamond Of Counsel Gus Bauman (Washington, DC) was quoted in a November 27 Washington Post article titled "Possible Legal Challenges Pose Cost Risks for Maryland Toll Lanes Proposal." The article discusses groups representing commuters and businesses who have urged the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) to move forward with Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s plan to widen two interstate highways that run through Montgomery and Prince George's Counties. Governor Hogan says the plan to build variably-priced “express toll lanes” will bring relief at “no cost” to taxpayers because it’s a public-private partnership, or P3 (meaning private investors would cover the bulk of the costs and then be rewarded by toll revenue).
Recently, the public comment period for the federally mandated Environmental Impact Statement for the I-270/I-495 project closed, with predictable results: some business groups love it, some pro-transit environmental groups hate it. However, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, the land use planning agency for Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, strongly opposes the plan, with all ten commissioners unanimously against it. They don’t think sufficient alternative traffic plans have been considered, the harmful impact fully assessed nor even the hidden costs should the project move forward as the potential for a legal fight grows more apparent.
Gus, a leading expert on the National Environmental Policy Act, and the commission’s former legal counsel and chairman weighed in saying “There’s no doubt in my mind this project is headed to federal court.” He speaks from personal experience, having represented MDOT in two 2006 lawsuits filed by several environmental groups against the construction of the Intercounty Connector toll road.
The article further relies on Gus’s experience handling controversial environmental reviews, stating, "Because lawsuits are anticipated on controversial projects, state lawyers typically work closely on major environmental reviews to ensure they will pass muster in court, experts said. During the Intercounty Connector study, Bauman said, he spent four to five months with other lawyers and state and federal agencies scrutinizing the 'purpose and need' statement, which was about a page long."
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