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All That Could Have Been: Transit Planning in Maryland

Maryland approved ambitious plans for public transit expansion around Baltimore in 2002, but almost none of it became a reality. With a new plan in the works, transit boosters assess the loss of a generation's worth of progress.
October 3, 2019, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Josh Kurtz performs a post-mortem on the recent history of transit planning in the state of Maryland—almost all of which never came to fruition.

In 2002, Maryland transportation planners put the finishing touches on a proposal to dramatically expand mass transit in the state. The plan envisioned six new or improved transit lines, with 122 new transit station stops built over 40 years.

Today, only the Purple Line, a light rail project linking New Carrollton to Bethesda, survives. The Red Line, an east-west transit project in Baltimore, came close to final federal approval, but Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) pulled the plug on the project in 2015.

The final nail in the coffin for those grand ambitions came in September when Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's administration announced that it would no longer prioritize the Corridor Cities Transitway, a bus rapid transit line in Montgomery County.

This post-mortem is set against the backdrop of a new transit planning study in the state, however: the Regional Transit Plan for Central Maryland. A draft plan is expected to be complete in a year, so the Greater Baltimore Committee and the Greater Washington Partnership recently held a public discussion on the future of transit in Maryland, but those in attendance couldn't avoid the past and the future.

As noted by Kurtz, several additional public forums on the Regional Transit Plan for Central Maryland are scheduled through the rest of the month.

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Published on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 in Maryland Matters
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