WYPR: Smith: Democrats should have known better on Hogan, Red Line

Editor’s note: The following commentary by Fraser Smith aired on WYPR.org on August 13, 2015.

Those Democrats. Were they really expecting a Hogan Administration vision for transit? If so, shame on them.

Beyond buses, it’s clear the Hogan team has no vision. There was no suggestion of anything at all beyond buses. Couldn’t be clearer.

First the governor killed the Red Line. He suggested nothing in its place. Then he parceled out the Red Line savings to parts of the state that voted for him. This week the Administration hosted Democratic leaders at what they apparently thought would be a Red Line replacement meeting. Did they really? Wrong.

The governor wanted their ideas. Their ideas? Their idea was the Red Line. As the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Don Fry said that now-dead program would have been transformative.

That plan would have given riders and businesses something like an actual system. Really, the Hogans persisted, give us your ideas. The Democrats walked away frustrated.

The governor’s men said some sort of plan was coming. Buses begins with b – but that would hardly be a substitute for the now dead Plan A.

Democrats rolled out the big guns to no avail. Senator Barbara Mikulski came. Rep. Elijah Cummings came. So did Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Maybe the idea was to send them away with nothing. To humiliate them.

Mikulski said the meeting was a first for her. Having worked for decades to bring federal dollars to Maryland, she now stands by while a Maryland governor says no to nearly a billion dollars – Washington’s share of the Red Line.

So far, there’s no Plan B. Only Plan N – N for nothing.

Listen to the commentary here.