Responding to a questionnaire on transit issues, Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. and his top challenger, Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley, have both voiced strong support for construction of the Red Line from Woodlawn to Canton.
Ehrlich and O’Malley articulated their Red Line support in written responses to 13 transit-related questions submitted to them by the Greater Baltimore Committee and the Baltimore Transit Alliance, a regional coalition of businesses, civic and environmental organizations, and foundations affiliated with the GBC.
Both candidates also indicated support for increased transit funding for the Baltimore region. Development of an expanded, fast, easy and reliable transit system is one of the GBC’s top strategic priorities.
Ehrlich noted that, under legislation the General Assembly passed and he signed earlier this year, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) will issue an analysis of transit funding needs in December. MDOT will also identify strategies to best leverage anticipated new federal funding for transit. “It is equally important to ensure that taxpayer money is used in a cost-effective manner,” Ehrlich wrote.
O’Malley responded that he favors a “balanced transportation program” that will reduce congestion and lure commuters to transit in the region. “Given the state’s levels of highway congestion, persistent air quality problems, and the rising cost of gasoline, we must advance transit projects,” O’Malley wrote.
The questionnaire to the candidates also asked questions on other transit issues including MARC commuter service, bus route restructuring, maglev development, and requirements for transit cost recovery from fares.
The Greater Baltimore Committee and the Baltimore Transit Alliance are conducting detailed reviews of the gubernatorial candidates’ full responses and will issue a report to members prior to the election.