Scrapping of traffic-congestion plan urged - Proposal tilts too heavily toward highways, mass-transit advocates say
By Michael Dresser
August 29, 2007
A coalition of mass-transit advocates urged the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board yesterday to scrap its $8.7 billion draft plan for traffic congestion relief over the next 28 years, contending that the proposal is heavily skewed in favor of highway projects.
The advocates are attacking a potential blueprint for what the region's transportation system would look like in 2035. They say the draft Transportation Outlook 2035, prepared by local governments and the transportation board's staff, directs too much money to road projects, including many that would encourage sprawl and violate the state's Smart Growth policies.
At a public hearing last night, speakers almost unanimously turned thumbs down on a plan that critics described as lacking in regional vision.
Advocates demanded a roughly even split of the funds to finance a full regional rapid transit network and MARC system improvements.
The Greater Baltimore Committee expressed disappointment that the draft didn't include a Metro system extension to Morgan State University and Good Samaritan Hospital.
Gregory Schaffer, president of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, asked why the East Baltimore campus, with more than 6,300 employees, had been left out of plans for a new transit line and a MARC system upgrade.