Your recent editorial on the proposed Red Line in Baltimore turned a blind eye to the project's huge funding and performance gaps ("Charm City Express," Sept. 16).

You say the state has $1.5 billion pledged for the Red Line, but The Sun's previous story lists the Red Line's allocation as only $519 million of the $1.5 billion figure, which includes "more than a dozen other transportation projects in the area."

So the state has accounted for only a tiny piece of the Red Line's total $2.6 billion price tag. The rest is tied up in vague hopes for city and county contributions, "public-private partnerships" (as if any business will want to take on such a sure money loser) and dwindling federal matching funds. Moreover, no one else will step up for any cost overruns either.

Ironically, your editorial has no problem criticizing the state's 30-year rail transit system history. You say that "surely, nobody would have ever designed such a haphazard, inconvenient and undercapitalized system that lacks sufficient accountability to its customers (or even local government) from scratch."

But that's what they did, and the Red Line is being designed to a far lower standard than the existing Metro in every possible way. You express a desire for "a better-integrated transit future," even though the Red Line would not even connect to the Metro except via an absurd two-block pedestrian tunnel.

Here's the first step toward a solution to these problems: Eliminate the Red Line's proposed billion-dollar downtown tunnel and its redundancy with the existing Metro. Then make the system truly integrated.

If The Sun examined the state's hype with a critical eye, you would realize the Red Line is merely another example of bad transit planning that in many regards is far worse than in the past.

Gerald Neily, Baltimore