Plans by MTA to meet county transport needs to be unveiled; Meeting tonight to discuss report on improvements slated for next 20 years


The Maryland Department of Transportation is offering Carroll residents a look at its public transit plan for the next 20 years.

The Mass Transit Administration plans a workshop at 7 p.m. today in Westminster to discuss improvements to public trans- portation systems, emphasizing efforts in Carroll County.

"We have had intense discussions of concrete projects in Carroll County and surveys," said MTA administrator Jennifer Weeks. "We have come up with transit improvements for the community. They are possibilities. We need residents' input now."

Use of buses and trains statewide is expected to double to 1 million trips a day by 2020, from 570,000 trips a day now, one of the highest totals in the country.

"In rural areas, we may need to triple ridership, possibly through locally operated systems," said MTA spokesman Anthony Brown.

To prepare for the increases, MTA held workshops statewide and developed a 33-page report.

"We are coming to Carroll to discuss mobility issues," said Brown. "We do not have specific recommendations for Carroll, but we will go over what is outlined in our report."

About 30 people met at Carroll Community College last year hoping to find solutions to the county's commuter woes. More than half of Carroll's work force leaves every day for jobs in other cities and counties. But its population has consistently opposed extending public bus lines into Carroll.

Many at last year's workshop recommended increasing Carroll Transit, a private, nonprofit company serving primarily the elderly and disabled.

"We are asking for participation from the general public, and we have scheduled this session in the evening to make it as convenient as possible," said Weeks.

The session runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Burns Hall at Carroll County Agricultural Center, Westminster. Information: 1-888-908-PLAN.

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