Editor’s note: The following commentary was recorded at WBAL News Radio 1090 on February 26, 2018.
Baltimore got a rude awakening regarding the dire condition of its Metro system when the MTA abruptly shut it down because portions of the track are unsafe. The Metro will remain closed for repairs until mid-March.
It’s unconscionable that this critical link in Baltimore’s mass transit network was allowed to fall into this state of disrepair. But when it comes to mass transit, Baltimore continually gets the short end of the stick. Ironically, in Maryland law, a guiding principle of mass transit funding provides:
“…if there is substantial financial support for the planned rapid rail mass transit system in one metropolitan area…there should be substantial financial support for the planned rapid rail mass transit system in the other metropolitan area…”
The Washington metropolitan region is fortunate to enjoy significant mass transit investments – the Purple Line and plans for a multi-year grant for the WMATA rail system – to name just a few.
Baltimore does not enjoy a comparable investment. Baltimore’s only planned mass transit project – the $3 Billion Red Line – was killed by Governor Hogan and Transportation Secretary Rahn over three years ago with no further commitment other than a reconfigured bus system.
Baltimore and its residents need to wake up and demand the basic principle of parity that is enunciated in state law. Failing to hold our elected officials to that fundamental standard will only leave Baltimore further behind in its efforts to build an efficient and effective transportation network.
I’m Don Fry, President & CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee.