Today Governor Hogan announced $135 million in transit investment for Baltimore City. The majority of the announcement focused on improvements to bus service, the creation of Baltimore Link--something that is desperately needed and long overdue for thousands of Baltimore City workers and students that rely on MTA buses to get them to their destination. We are hopeful that these changes will improve transportation equity and economic vitality in the Baltimore region.
We were particularly pleased with the level of investment in first and last mile solutions. The plan includes:
- 83 new bike rack locations throughout MTA stations
- Partnering with the city to fund the installation of bike share stations at key MTA stations within Baltimore City
- Increasing MARC train Bike Car service to all trains on Saturday and Sunday
- Improved bicycle and pedestrian access to all MTA stations
As Baltimore Link matures from a concept into an actionable plan, we look forward to getting more firm and specific details on the levels on investment the State is going to make.
Every speaker including Governor Hogan who took the podium today mentioned bicycles in their remarks. The level at which bikes were included and acknowledged both at today’s announcement and within the plan marks a huge paradigm shift for the state of Maryland. This past summer, Bikemore conducted a bike transit tour with Baltimore City DOT and MTA staff. We were pleased to see that what we discussed in terms of improved access, secure bike parking, and state level investment in bike share to ensure first and last mile solutions became part of Baltimore Link. The true test comes over the next two years, when as advocates we hold our leaders accountable to their promises.
And while it inspires some hope that our leadership at the state level is looking at innovative planning solutions to create truly livable streets, we must acknowledge the hard truth that this $135 million investment is merely a consolation prize to the $736 million in state transportation funding that was lost when Governor Hogan cancelled the Red Line. Those funds instead went to support fiscally irresponsible highway expansion in some of the least populated counties in the state. These incongruences--holding a flashy presser touting the importance of mobility and livable streets but investing significantly more of the State’s transportation budget to road widening projects that undermine those same philosophies--will have to be answered for in the coming years of Hogan’s administration.
We look forward to continuing our work with MTA and partners at the state and local level to ensure bicycle and pedestrian access to our transit system is prioritized. Today was a step in the right direction--considering all modes of travel in transportation planning, and encouraging real mobility solutions for those most in need. And when the State is able to restore transportation funding in Baltimore to a level that better reflects the city’s needs, we will welcome the leap.