Red Line Debate to Air on MPT Friday

There's really no two ways about it: Public transportation in Baltimore is downright confounding. One can easily go from north to south on the MARC Light Rail or from Johns Hopkins northwest up to Owings Mills on the subway. But if you need to go anywhere else in the city—say, if you lived on the West side and needed to get to Bayview Medical Center on the East Side—you've got to cab it, drive it, or bus it. None of those options are particularly speedy or appealing.

For years, public-transportation buffs have been calling for the city and state to fund construction on an efficient east-west train line to fill the gap. Enter the Red Line, a proposed 14-mile east-west light rail system that was recently pronounced in a press release from Gov. Martin O'Malley to be the "preferred alternative" to connect the existing Baltimore Light Rail system, MARC stations, Metro subway stations, and local bus routes "to create a comprehensive regional transit network that is unprecedented in the Baltimore area."

The project has its own Facebook page, where supporters can catch up on Red Line related news.

Despite the praise for the project from supporters like First Mariner Bank CEO Ed Hale, who says that a solid public-transportation link on the east side is long overdue, the Red Line is not without its detractors. In fact, there's a pretty vocal contingent actively opposing the construction of the Red Line, many of whom are Canton residents who don't think an above-ground light rail will be good for their neighborhood. To read more on that topic, you can read the blog No Train Tracks Through Canton or visit Baltimore Red Line Underground.

On Aug. 14, Maryland Public Television will host a debate on the discussion featuring two Canton residents—one who supports construction of the line, one of whom opposes it. Red Line supporter Dan Tracy will explain why he's backing the project, and Ben Rosenberg will explain his opposition. The debate will air at 7:30 p.m. on State Circle.

No matter what side of the debate you're on, it should make for an interesting discussion.