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Maryland Manual, 1996-97
Volume 187, Page 510   View pdf image (33K)
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510 / Department of Transportation Maryland Manual 1996 1997

1904, motor vehicle owners registered in the office of the Secretary of State in Annapolis (Chapter 518,
1904) Upon payment of a one dollar fee, owners were issued a certificate and required to place their
number on the vehicle m a conspicuous spot Required safety measures included two front lighted lamps, one rear
red light, good brakes, a bell, hom, or other signalling device, and a means of locking the starting mechanism The
first speed limits were set at ten miles per hour on the open road and six miles per hour on sharp curves, at mtersecuons,
and in town The statute also addressed automobile etiquette upon meeting horses or other animals, cither ndden
or dnven A 1906 law was more explicit, requiring drivers to stop their vehicles upon request of women and children
nding or driving horses or other draft animals and assist them in getting by the automobile It became illegal for
anyone to "hurl stones or other missiles" at automobiles, the speed limit rose to twelve miles an hour, and the
registration fee increased to three dollars, two of which went to the State road fund (Chapter 449, Acts of 1906)
In 1910, the responsibility for registering automobiles was shifted from the Secretary of State's office to the new
Commissioner of Motor Vehicles (Chapter 207, Acts of 1910) Rules of the road proliferated and the speed limit
gradually crept up, but enforcement was limited until 1914, when the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles began hiring
motorcycle deputies to enforce motor vehicle and traffic laws throughout the State (Chapter 564, Acts of 1914)
These depuues ultimately became the Maryland State Police with jurisdiction over both criminal law and traffic law
in 1935, although the operating expenses for the new Department of Maryland State Pohce continued to be paid
out of revenues from the office of the Commissioner of Motor \^hicles (Chapter 303, Acts of 1935)

Agitation for better roads came from farmers pnor to 1900 The legislature heeded their appeal by
authorizing the State Geological and Economic Survey to investigate the condition of roads throughout the
State and estimate the cost of improving them (Chapter 454, Acts of 1898) An J899 report of the Survey
described the massive effort necessary to upgrade Maryland's highways The Survey acquired a Division of
Highways in 1904 to assist counties with plans, specifications, and estimates for building or improving their
roads Such roads were required to have a macadamized or stone surface, and an annual State appropriation
of $200,000 was apportioned to the counties according to the proportion of existing public roads in each
county The Survey oversaw construction and the State paid up to half the cost of each project, but the counties
were responsible for their share of construction costs and for maintenance on all roads so built and could lose
State funding for additional projects if maintenance failed to meet Survey specifications (Chapter 225, Acts of
1904) This act was the first step towards State responsibility for roads The growing number of automobiles
intensified the need for better roads while their registration fees provided new revenue to apply towards roads
In 1908, the State Roads Commission was formed to construct, improve, and maintain a State system of
improved roads and highways, and the State borrowed five million dollars for a seven year construction program
(Chapter 141, Acts of 1908) The Commission began first by paving roads, then widening them and removing
railroad crossings Encouraged by federal aid for highway construction, initiated by the Federal Cooperative
Extension Act of 1914, Maryland implemented long range highway building projects In a 1922 executive
reorganization, the State Roads Commission became the head of the Department ofPubhc Works (Chapter
29, Acts of 1922) In 1937, the Commission was authorized to construct bridges and tunnels financed by tolls
to be collected on the completed projects (Chapter 356, Acts of 1937) This led to the Susquehanna and
Potomac River Bridges, the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Airports Although possibly the first recorded manned flight occurred over Baltimore in a balloon in
1784, Maryland did not pass its Uniform State Law for Aeronautics until 1927 (Chapter 637, Acts of
1927), followed by the creation of the State Aviation Commission in 1929 (Chapter 318, Acts of 1929)
The Commission licensed aviators and airships, set air traffic rules, regulated the construction and
operation of airfields, and otherwise conformed to federal regulations The Commission became an
Administration in 1970 when the Department of Transportation was formed and in 1972 took over
operation of Friendship International Airport (now BWI) after its purchase by the State The Admuustra
tion at that time went from three employees to over two hundred

Port of Baltimore As Baltimore grew into a city dunng the Revolutionary War, the Port of Baltimore
became a center for the trade with the West Indies that supported the war effort Wardens of the Port
were authorized in 1783 to oversee construction of wharves, clear waterways, and collect duties from
vessels entering and clearing the port (Chapter 24, Acts of 1783) By the 1780s, Baltimore began to trade
with China and, during the nineteenth century, Baltimore clipper ships sped around the world and
developed a particularly lucrative trade with South America

Although Baltimore was a port long before it was a city, the State delayed its role in port development
until 1827 Then the Governor began annually to appoint State wharfingers to take charge of State owned
or leased docks, particularly those adjacent to the State Tobacco Warehouse Yet, considerable time elapsed
before Maryland had a State agency to oversee port operations The Maryland Port Authority assumed
that role in 1956 (Chapter 2, Acts of Special Session of 1956) The Authority's prime concern was to

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Maryland Manual, 1996-97
Volume 187, Page 510   View pdf image (33K)
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