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Opinion

News Opinion

Proposed Red Line is an example of poor transit planning

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

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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