Baltimore’s Red Line Rail Project Back on the Table Thanks to New Governor

One of the most infamously anti-transit decisions of the past decade—Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s decision to cancel the Baltimore Red Line system expansion—could be reversed by the incoming governor.

2 minute read

December 12, 2022, 7:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Baltimore Rail

Pi.1415926535 / Wikimedia Commons

Maryland Governor-elect Wes Moore (D) recently promised to build the Red Line rail line planned for a 14-mile stretch in Baltimore. Moore’s predecessor, current Governor Larry Hogan (R), canceled the project in 2015.

Kriston Capps has the scoop on one of the most potentially momentous outcomes for transit to emerge from the November 2022 elections. In an interview with Bloomberg News, Gov.-elect Moore promised to raise the Red Line from the dead, and even build the project during his tenure.

According to Capps, prospects for the plan’s revival are good.

The recent election in Maryland follows a windfall of approvals for new federal spending on transit initiatives, namely through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Joe Biden in 2021. Democrats in Maryland have been eyeing the chance to revive the Red Line; senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin even added a line to the bill that would make past proposals eligible for renewed consideration, mentioning the Baltimore project by name.

Among transit advocates, Hogan will never shed the bad reputation created by the controversial decision to cancel the project. Capps explains the decision and the transportation priorities of the Hogan administration:

Just six months after taking office in 2015, the Republican governor hit the brakes on the 14-mile-long east-west light-rail line, declaring it a boondoggle and returning $900 million in guaranteed funding to the federal government. State funds earmarked for the project were spent on roads instead, mostly in rural and suburban areas, as well as on the Purple Line in the suburbs of Washington, DC

The decision provoked criticism in the media, a civil rights complaint, and continued negative deep into Hogan’s tenure. Moore told Capps that Hogan’s decision to cancel the project was “almost disqualifiable.”

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