The proposed light rail Red Line for the Baltimore region took a step closer to becoming a reality on February 28 when the Federal Transit Administration issued a “record of decision” that signals the federal agency’s approval of the project’s preliminary engineering plans and environmental impact statement.
The 14-mile east-west Red Line, which would run from Woodlawn through Baltimore City to Bayview and connect with north-south light rail and metro lines, has been the Greater Baltimore Committee’s top transit priority.
The FTA decision means tthe Red Line is poised to begin the final design and construction phases, and the federal government is ready to award as much as 50 percent of the funding for the estimated $2 billion project. To obtain the federal financing, Maryland must assure FTA officials it is committed to providing up to $1 billion in matching funds for the project during its construction phase.
This is a significant step forward for a project that would convert the Baltimore region’s somewhat disconnected rail transit into a comprehensive, integrated system that would significantly enhance transit options for the region’s commuters and residents.