In my home state, Ohio, Walmart is the largest private-sector employer. That carries clout with politicians. I don't know the numbers for Maryland, but if the governor's actions are any indication, he knows on what side his bread is buttered.
It was with deep disappointment that the citizens of Bel Air learned that the Hogan administration reversed the State Highway Administration's decision regarding the Route 924 access for Walmart. After much discussion and deliberation, the SHA determined in September that the access would promote traffic congestion and reduce safety, and for that reason it denied Walmart access to the road. Yet on the very day Gov. Larry Hogan was inaugurated the SHA's decision was reversed. The citizens of Bel Air have vehemently opposed the construction of a Walmart at this location due to safety concerns. There are 20 subdivisions up and down the Route 924 corridor that will be significantly impacted by over 10,000 additional cars. In addition, there are three schools in close proximity to the proposed development site, one of them a high school where young, inexperienced drivers will have to negotiate a wider and busier roadway. Harford County supported Mr. Hogan's run for office and his vision to improve the Maryland economy. But creating 300 low-paying, part-time jobs hardly justifies the resultant traffic congestion, safety risks, lower quality of life and burden on nearby businesses. This quaint and well-manicured community is unsuitable for a 186,000 square-foot building with over 250,000 square feet of asphalt surface. It is particularly inappropriate given that Wal-Mart already has three existing stores in Harford County, one which is located only three miles away and is adjacent to a recently improved multimillion dollar I-95/Route 24 interchange. That store was designed to accommodate a 30,000 square-foot expansion, making it capable of housing a supercenter-sized food section as well as employing 200 additional workers. Instead, this store will be shuttered if the recently proposed new store is built.
I guarantee that jobs for Walmart associates did not figure into this political equation. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.

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