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Hogan vetoes transportation bill, sets up override vote

Gov. Larry Hogan. (File)

Gov. Larry Hogan. (File)

ANNAPOLIS — Less than one day after the House and Senate passed a bill requiring transportation projects to be scored and ranked, Gov. Larry Hogan made good on his promise to veto the legislation.

Hogan, in a three-page veto letter to the General Assembly, said House Bill 1013 is “regrettable legislation that exemplifies the worst kind of policy making and is not in the best interest of Marylanders.”

Legislators proposed the bill this year after Hogan’s decision to cancel the funding for the $2.9 billion Red Line light-rail project in Baltimore. The law originally sought to impose a scoring system based on nine weighted criteria that favored mass transit projects and more urban areas. Rural counties expressed concern the changes would reduce state aid for local roads projects.

But the version that ultimately passed eliminated the requirements and instead called on the Department of Transportation to develop and implement such a system. There is no penalty within the law should the department not comply.

The veto sets up an override vote in the House and Senate before the end of the 2016 session.

Typically, a governor in Maryland has 30 days to sign a bill, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature. But when lawmakers are in session, any bill delivered to the governor with six or more days left in the session is subject to the so-called six day rule requiring executive action. Lawmakers would have a shot at overriding the governor before the session ends at midnight a week from Monday.

The House needs 85 votes and the Senate needs 29 to override a veto.

The Senate passed the bill with 28-17 with one senator not voting and Sen. Lisa Gladden, D-Baltimore City absent.

The House Thursday night approved the legislation 83-51 with a number of delegates not present or not voting.