Maryland Matters: Olszewski Accuses MDOT of Neglecting Baltimore County’s Needs

By Bruce DePuyt
September 29, 2021

The following is an excerpt from the original Maryland Matters article.

Baltimore County Executive John A. Olszewski Jr. (D) accused the state’s top transportation officials on Sept. 29 of short-changing his jurisdiction by funneling more money to the Washington, D.C., suburbs than to his county.

In remarks at Towson University, he called for “more sustained support and partnership” from state budgeteers.

“Our county has historically been underfunded, while other large jurisdictions receive much more,” Olszewski said. “We know that our residents deserve the investments and partnership necessary to make this 21st century transportation vision a reality.”

Olszewski — who considered a run for governor in 2022 but chose to seek reelection instead — displayed a slide that compared “locally operated transit system funding” for Maryland’s largest counties. It showed that Montgomery and Prince George’s receive $30 million and $10 million each year, respectively, while Baltimore County receives $421,000.

He reeled off a list of transportation projects and neighborhood improvements that the county has paid for or that have been deferred due to lack of state funding, including a request to upgrade the interchange at Interstate 795 and Dolfield Boulevard in Owings Mills that dates back to 2007.

Olszewski’s comments echoed those made last week in the Baltimore, when Mayor Brandon M. Scott (D) and other city leaders complained that the state appears to favor the D.C. suburbs when it doles out transportation funds.

Advocates for the Baltimore region and transit boosters remain angry with Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s 2015 decision to kill the long-planned Red Line in Baltimore that had qualified for billions in federal aid.

At the time, the Republican governor called the transit project a “wasteful boondoggle.”

Hogan was also instrumental in building crucial financial support for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which provides bus and rail service in the D.C. region. And he has championed a multi-billion dollar plan to speed travel along two of the nation’s most congested highways, the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 in Montgomery County.

“Unfortunately, the Baltimore region has suffered for years from a lack of adequate state funding for transportation system maintenance and investment in new projects,” said Donald C. Fry, President of the Greater Baltimore Committee, in a statement.

“This lack of investment in the Baltimore region runs the risk of depriving work commuters, especially those unable to afford cars or other transportation options, with access to jobs or employment opportunities,” he added. “It is a priority equity and diversity issue that must be addressed fully and fairly.”

Read the complete article.

Source: Maryland Matters

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