Maryland governor Martin O’Malley August 4 announced his selection of light rail as the preferred alternative for the Baltimore region’s planned 14-mile east-west Red Line from Woodlawn to the Johns Hopkins medical complex at Bayview.
O’Malley’s announcement of the state’s locally preferred alternative for the Red Line puts the project in position to be considered for federal funding approval – the next key step in the Red Line project. If federal and matching state funding are approved, construction on the Red Line could begin as soon as 2012.
In selecting the Red Line light rail alternative that would include two tunnels – a one-mile tunnel under Cooks Lane on the western end and an approximately three-mile tunnel under downtown Baltimore – the governor picked the option that was strongly supported by the Greater Baltimore Committee, most of the region’s transit advocates, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, and Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith.
The governor made the announcement at the West Baltimore MARC station during a ceremony attended by Congressman Elijah Cummings, a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; local and state elected officials, GBC president and CEO Donald C. Fry, GBC members, and transit advocates from the business sector and the community.
The Red Line “will provide the east-west transit service that has been missing in the Baltimore region for decades,” said Governor O’Malley, who emphasized that the Red Line was “about connections of families to their jobs.”
Congressman Cummings noted that the Red Line project seizes a “once in a lifetime” window of opportunity for the Baltimore region to gain a transformational transit project. He also lauded planners for developing a project that displaces no one.
“This will be the Baltimore region’s most significant transportation project in a generation,” said Fry, who spoke at the ceremony and praised O’Malley for his “political courage” in supporting the Red Line’s light rail option. O’Malley’s announcement “sends a loud signal that finally, this vital project is poised to get off of the drawing board,” Fry added.
Fry thanked “the many members of the business community for writing letters, attending rallies, and spreading the word that the Red Kline is vitally important to the Baltimore region’s business climate and quality of life.”