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Baltimore needs serious transit investment | READER COMMENTARY

At a bus stop outside of Medstar Harbor Hospital, a few people wait to take the bus to various destinations. Gov. Larry Hogan last March announced the state would be reducing MARC service by 50% and will reduce all local bus, light rail Metro and commuter bus services while continuing to prioritize medically-necessary transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a bus stop outside of Medstar Harbor Hospital, a few people wait to take the bus to various destinations. Gov. Larry Hogan last March announced the state would be reducing MARC service by 50% and will reduce all local bus, light rail Metro and commuter bus services while continuing to prioritize medically-necessary transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Ullyses Mu–oz/Baltimore Sun)

Although The Sun correctly diagnosed the Baltimore region’s dysfunctional and unreliable public transportation system in a recent editorial (”Baltimore transit needs much more than a tweak,” Dec. 11), its prescription is equivalent to providing a few Band-Aids for a patient needing major surgery. As the editorial states, the “chronic-under-investment in Baltimore transit” results in “life or death consequences for city dwellers, as well as suburbanites and exurbanites who are inevitably harmed as these economic woes spread outward.”

But in place of the initiatives necessary to reverse the current situation, The Sun offers excuses and incremental steps that would barely make a dent in our region’s transit needs. Instead of recommending that funds for Gov. Larry Hogan’s ill-conceived plans to widen roads and highways be allocated instead for the capital investments necessary to keep Maryland’s public transit (MARC, light rail, heavy rail, buses, mobility) in a state of good repair, The Sun suggests only “bus line by bus line investments.” And instead of acknowledging Central Maryland’s need for a regional transportation authority, The Sun dismisses it as a “non-starter” even though metropolitan regions in states throughout the country have found ways to create and fund similar entities.

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Funding allocations and investments are statements of values and priorities. If we value the Baltimore region’s economic health, sustainability of our natural environment and equity for all residents, Maryland’s elected officials need to summon the political and moral will to invest in a robust transit system for our state’s largest region and economic engine.

Paul Sturm, Baltimore

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