The newest underground line in Great Britain - the Elizabeth Line - opened to great reviews.

A trip outside normal stomping grounds can yield interesting results. That was the case this past week, when I traveled to Vienna to write a freelance review of the tour-opening performance of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

Along with Vienna’s musical offerings — opera posters everywhere and so many buskers! — I appreciated the logic of the transit system. While I never had reason to use a bus, it was easy and pleasant to get around via trams and trains. The U-Bahn had some nice touches, including little hooks low on the train walls that people would hang old magazines on to create mobile tiny free libraries.

I reside in Berlin, a city with very good transit. But taking that trip made me freshly realize just how good a system can be. And that opened a couple old wounds.

Twice in my life, I have lived in a state where a transit plan was formed, approved at multiple levels and heavily researched, only to be killed at the last minute by a capricious governor. First it happened during my teenage years in Michigan, where outgoing Gov. John Engler vetoed a Detroit regional transit plan as one of his last moves before leaving office.

Then it happened again in Maryland a decade later, with newly minted Gov. Larry Hogan infamously scrapping an east-west rail line that had been in planning for years under both Democratic and Republican leadership, calling it a “boondoggle.”

(Hogan then immediately turned  around and bequeathed nearly all of the project’s planned funds to various road projects in places everywhere other than Baltimore. His administration literally left Baltimore off the map when announcing the projects. )

I was thinking about all of this as I rode the Vienna U-Bahn to meet up with an old coworker, and it occurred to me that the British may have an answer for the situation: Simply shower these oh-so-wise decision makers with the name recognition and publicity they seem to crave.

The British, of course, have lots of experience with fickle and benighted rulers. That experience came first under an absolute monarchy, then in a constitutional monarchy where the monarch — jokes about queenly illiteracy aside — still holds a sometimes disturbing amount of clout.

But Londoners figured out that they could hack this system. A while back, they realized that they needed a new subway line, and what better way was there to nudge it along than to name it after someone with power? So the Elizabeth Line was born and opened a year ago this spring to rave reviews. No less than the New Yorker chimed in, calling the Elizabeth Line “unexpectedly fantastic.”

So here’s my proposal for any U.S. transit advocates or agency heads who care to listen: Next time a rail corridor study is done, name the front-running plan after your governor. If you’re worried that this will politicize the line too much, have no fear: The hyphen is your friend, allowing up to three successive governors to share the title.

If that had happened in Maryland or Michigan, we might currently be able to ride the O’Malley-Erlich-Hogan line in Baltimore or the Engler-Granholm-Snyder line in Detroit. It’s not as catchy as calling it the Red Line, but I’ll take a functioning rail line with a clumsy name over no line at all any day of the week.

Hyphenating also gives each governor extra incentive to make things happen more quickly: Faster shovels in the ground result in less need to share the credit with extra names.

Anyhow, that’s my clever suggestion, ripped off wholesale from the Brits. No need to thank me. Just name your next child Nigel Floggsworth Withers-Crumpetbottom, and we’ll call it even.

Patrick Maynard is a former Baltimorean now living in Berlin. His staff or freelance writing has appeared in more than a dozen publications, including VICE, The Independent and The Baltimore Sun. Follow him on Twitter: @patrickmaynard

Patrick Maynard is a former Baltimorean now living in Berlin. His staff or freelance writing has appeared in more than a dozen publications, including VICE, The Independent and The Baltimore Sun.