With Red Line Halted, Kamenetz Calls for Transit Alternatives

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Red Line Station (rendering)
Red Line Station (rendering)

After years of planning, study and debate, Larry Hogan decided not to build the Red Line. It seems that the governor’s announcement will trigger a new round of studying.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz called on the Baltimore Metropolitan Council to come up with a new mass transit study in 90 days. Local leaders threw all their support behind the Red Line, and acknowledged they didn’t have a Plan B.

“If the governor eliminates construction of the Red Line, we must identify alternative ideas that will reduce traffic congestion and travel times, while improving transportation access,” Kamenetz said in a statement. “Just saying no is not a transportation solution.”

It also appears to be a direct response to Hogan, not only for his decision to halt the Red Line but also his claim of last week that he hadn’t heard any alternatives to the Red Line.

Along with the alternatives, the study will look at the effects of Hogan’s decision to spend money on road construction projects instead of mass transit. The governor’s office infamously left Baltimore City off the map when showing which areas of the state got funded in the transportation plan. A deeper analysis from the Baltimore Sun this weekend showed that Baltimore County received less than 1 percent of the road project money.

“Ninety-nine percent of the current Red Line funds were redistributed to jurisdictions that would not provide transportation relief to the Baltimore region,” Kamenetz said in Tuesday’s statement. “Waiting another decade to implement a comprehensive transportation strategy for the region is not acceptable.”

Planners also have to consider the question of whether some federal money will have to be paid back. There’s a possibility that some of the $61 million doled out from the Federal Transit Administration for the Red and Purple Lines will have to be repaid. The feds committed a total of $900 million for the Red Line. There has been yet to be a formal announcement on what will now happen to that money in the wake of the Red Line decision.

Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is the editor of Technical.ly Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.

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