Civil Rights Activists Target Baltimore Red Line Cancellation

A complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation alleges that Maryland Gov. Hogan's decision to cancel the long-planned Red Line rail project violates the Civil Rights Act.
December 26, 2015, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The decision by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to cancel the Red Line rail project has had continuing blowback, according to an article by Emily Badger, and the situation exemplifies a common inequity in transportation investment around the country.

A coalition of civil rights groups filed a complaint earlier this week with the federal Department of Transportation that the decision violated the Civil Rights Act. "By nixing the transit project — particularly in favor of rural and suburban highway funding — the state will disproportionately harm African Americans," explains Badger of the complaint.

The article includes quotes and background from Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, which led the complaint, to explain how the complaint connects the issues of transportation and civil rights. From the complaint itself: "the cancellation of the Red Line Project, rather than being a cost-saving measure, was simply a naked transfer of resources from the project corridor’s primarily African-American population to other rural and suburban parts of the state…"

Ifill also suggests that transportation contributed directly to the unrest that followed the death of Freddie Gray while in the custody of Baltimore police. "As much attention as we give to the trial of the officers who were charged in the killing of Freddie Gray...we should give to a decision that implicates 10,000 construction jobs and billions of infrastructure investment in Baltimore that were eliminated in a single day, by a single decision, made by a single person."

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Published on Tuesday, December 22, 2015 in The Washington Post- Wonkblog
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