Reform for Maryland's Farebox Recovery Mandate Could Change Planning Paradigms

A funding formula that frequently determines the scope and quality of transit in the state of Maryland could be reformed by state legislators this year.

1 minute read

March 16, 2017, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Orange Line

LEE SNIDER PHOTO IMAGES / Shutterstock

Brian O'Malley reports on legislation in Maryland that would change the funding formula for transit everywhere in the state.

Currently, Maryland transit systems are handcuffed by a requirement that all transit systems pay for at least 35 percent of its operating budget with rider fares—the farebox recovery mandate, to use the technical term. The state's farebox recovery affects "Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) products, like MTA local (aka Baltimore’s bus service) and commuter buses (which primarily serve the District), the three MARC commuter lines, and Baltimore’s Light Rail and Metro subway lines," according to O'Malley.

"The result of complying with this mandate is that MTA regularly has no choice but to refrain from investing in services and maintenance even if those things would grow ridership and revenues over time," according to O'Malley. "In public meetings, MTA officials often cite the farebox recovery mandate as a limiting factor when responding to requests to provide service to growing employment sites or other destinations, like a new Amazon warehouse distribution facility in Baltimore."

In response, two bills are moving through the Maryland State Legislature. House of Delegates Bill 271 and Senate Bill 484 have both passed through committee, with "broad support among central Maryland transit advocates, business leaders and riders," according to O'Malley.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 in Greater Greater Washington

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

May 21, 2024 - The Architect's Newspaper

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Acela train at Wilmington station in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Passenger Rail Revival Is Here

For the first time in decades, multiple rail projects are moving forward that could have a transformative impact on train travel in the United States.

May 21, 2024 - Route Fifty

California Governor Gavin Newsom announcing funding for tiny home shelter project in front of quick-build tiny home shelter unit.

California’s Tiny Home Pledge Still on Paper, One Year Later

A promise to fund 1,200 tiny homes for unhoused residents in four cities as a way to rapidly and cost-effectively provide shelter has yet to yield tangible results, but projects are moving ahead in some cities.

May 24 - CALmatters

Residential neighborhood in Colorado with fall foliage and snowy mountains in background.

Colorado Ends Non-Family Occupancy Limits

Local jurisdictions will no longer be able to limit how many unrelated adults can live in a household, a move that supporters say will help lower housing costs and help older adults supplement their incomes and stay in their homes.

May 24 - Strong Towns

A white crosswalk painted by Crosswalk Collective LA in Los Angeles, California.

Guerilla Urbanism Spurs Action From Cities

Rather than take a hostile approach to DIY urbanism, some cities are using guerilla efforts as an opportunity to understand critical infrastructure gaps.

May 24 - Smart Cities Dive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.