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Mayor reaffirms city's support for Red Line project

Public TransportationKevin KamenetzStephanie Rawlings-BlakeJohns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake reaffirmed her commitment to the $2.6 billion Red Line transit project Wednesday, saying the city's contribution would come from a mix of cash and "in-kind" offerings.

The state has asked the city to contribute $200 million.

Creating a new fee to help support the project is something she hopes to avoid.

"That is certainly not a goal," Rawlings-Blake said. "As hard as I have worked to reduce the burden of property tax on our residents, I certainly don't see an additional increase as the first option."

The Red Line — projected to open in 2022 — is a planned 14.1-mile transit line that would cross the city east to west and connect Woodlawn, Edmondson Village, West Baltimore, downtown, Harbor East, Fells Point, Canton and the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center campus.

Rawlings-Blake's comments came after Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz told the state recently that the county is willing to pay only $26.5 million in in-kind contributions, which would include street realignments, stormwater management and the addition of sidewalks. The state has asked the county for $50 million.

Kamenetz also said he wants the county portion of the project to be built first.

Rawlings-Blake said negotiations with the state are continuing. She didn't have an immediate breakdown on how much of the city's contribution would come from in-kind contribution, and she didn't specify what those offerings might be. She did say that she expects the city's share to be financed from multiple sources.

"My commitment is to do everything we can to make the Red Line project a success," she said. "Every vibrant, forward-looking city is a connecting city, and has opportunities and continues to look for ways to increase public transportation. We desperately need that east-west corridor to connect."

When asked about Kamenetz's reluctance to provide more toward the county's share, Rawlings-Blake said, "This is a regional project that I believe will benefit Baltimore City residents and Baltimore County residents.

"The good thing about having an independent government is he doesn't tell me how to reach my goals, and I don't tell him," she said.

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Public TransportationKevin KamenetzStephanie Rawlings-BlakeJohns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
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