Quel surprise! The Hogan Administration just has no gosh-darned money left over for Baltimore transit needs. Less than a month after canceling the $3 billion Red Line, they’ve already spent all the money elsewhere around the state – except for Baltimore. Who could have guessed?
Gov. Larry Hogan’s transportation chief told state lawmakers Tuesday that there’s nothing left from the money saved by canceling Baltimore’s Red Line for major initiatives to improve transit services in Baltimore.
Under questioning at a hearing in Annapolis, Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn pledged to work with legislators and other Baltimore leaders to improve transit services he conceded were unacceptable, but he said those efforts would have to rely largely on existing resources.
Rahn said the $736 million the state will save over the next six years by canceling the Baltimore light rail line, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars shaved from the Washington area’s Purple Line project, are going toward achieving the Republican governor’s “vision” for Maryland’s transportation future.
“Will there be any money left?” asked Sen. Nathaniel McFadden, a Baltimore Democrat.
“The savings from the Purple Line and Red Line have been committed to roads,” Rahn said.
The one thing Rahn promised – more talk. But no money.
The transportation chief struck a generally conciliatory tone, pledging to meet with Baltimore leaders Aug. 10 to discuss transit alternatives. But he offered no specific proposals to replace the $3 billion Red Line, which took a dozen years to plan and had the support of City Hall and Baltimore business leaders.
Whatever happens, Hogan’s June decision to cancel the Red Line will set back any transit projects in Baltimore for years.
Steven D. McCulloch, a transportation analyst with the nonpartisan Department of Legislative Services, told lawmakers the decision to cancel the Red Line means that any large-scale Baltimore transit project receiving federal assistance has been put back “years, if not decades.”
“Essentially we’d be starting back on square one of the process,” McCulloch said.
Payback’s a bitch, elections have consequences, and Larry Hogan has no interest in Baltimore transit. If there was really any question.