Red Line poised for City OK

The Greater Baltimore Committee will voice its strong support for the proposed Baltimore Red Line at a May 1 public hearing on City Council legislation that will clear the way for the project.

The GBC will testify on two City Council bills that will allow construction work in the city on the 14.1-mile light rail project from Woodlawn through downtown Baltimore to the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical System that will transform the region’s rail transit into an integrated system.

Bills authorizing the Maryland Transit Administration to build and operate the Red Line in the city will be heard before the City Council’s Housing and Community Development Committee, which has received favorable reviews of the bills from the city’s planners and its law and public works departments.

The GBC has been the lead business champion for the Red Line for 13 years. One bill will grant rights to the Maryland Transit Administration for the location, construction, operation and maintenance of a Red Line Light Rail System. The other measure will grant MTA the authority to acquire and do construction work in both surface and sub-surface rights of way.

The GBC supports the construction of the Red Line for the following reasons:

  • The Red Line will increase by 40 percent (from 47 to 66) the number of rail transit system stations serving the region’s residents and workforce.
  •  The Red Line is the connection that will finally make the value of Baltimore’s transit system greater than the sum of its parts. It will connect to the Metro, MARC, north-south light rail and the Charm City Circulator.
  • Nearly 550 acres of land are forecast to be planned for development or redevelopment within the Red Line corridor, with millions of square feet in gross development projected.
  • Use of the Red Line is forecast to result in 67,000 fewer daily automobile miles traveled, reducing commuter travel costs by between 30-50 percent, and reducing air pollution by 566 kilograms per day.
  • Most important, the Red Line is a jobs line. The Red Line will provide convenient rail transit access to more than 97,000 residents who currently live within a half-mile of stations and to more than 184,000 jobs currently within that radius – 68 percent of employment in the city. More than 210,000 jobs are forecast to be within station areas by 2030 – approximately 73 percent of all forecast jobs in the city.
  • The Red Line project will create more than 10,000 jobs during construction.

President Obama, in his FY 2015 budget recently submitted to Congress, provides Federal New Starts funds to start work on the Red Line, one of only seven projects across the nation so recognized.

This positions the the federal government to award federal funding to the project.

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