Editor’s note: The following commentary aired on WYPR.org on July 21, 2015.
Governor Larry Hogan’s announcement two weeks ago that he was killing the proposed Red Line project was greeted with a lot of disappointment and dismay in Baltimore.
As well it should.
This badly needed mass transit project would have provided rapid east-west transportation through the city. It had been planned, reviewed and vetted by top transportation experts.
Great urban cities have strong transit systems.
Baltimore has no transit system.
You don’t have a system if you don’t have connectivity. The Red Line provided the connectivity that Baltimore sorely lacks.
The governor’s decision also threw out a basic principle that previous governors cared deeply about – creating parity among the two transit systems in the two metropolitan areas of the state. Ending the Red Line significantly widened the transit parity gap between these two metropolitan regions.
Which brings us to this question: What is the governor’s vision for mass transit for Maryland’s largest city, one of the prime economic engines of the state?
Today, the answer to that question doesn’t exist but the ball is now solidly in his court.
It is now incumbent on the governor to lay out his vision for Baltimore mass transit. What is his plan? What route will it take? What type of transit will it be? How much is he willing to invest in such a plan?
But more importantly, show us why his vision is far better for Baltimore than the Red Line plan that had earned a position nationally as one of only six transit projects approved and ready to move forward.
It is an announcement that Baltimoreans are anxiously waiting to hear.
I’m Don Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee.
Listen to the commentary here.