Ferguson and Hammen should support Red Line as planned
To the Editor:
I am disappointed by the recent news that State Sen. Bill Ferguson and Del. Pete Hammen are supporting the “Right Rail Coalition” alternative to the Red Line.
I would like to make sure that Sen. Ferguson and Del. Hammen are aware of the recently released, in-depth engineering and financial analysis of the Right Rail plan from the experienced state transportation planners at the MTA. According to this analysis, the plan from RRC will cost anywhere from $2.6 billion to $3.3 billion, meaning the Right Rail folks underestimated the cost of their own plan by as much as $1.5 billion.
Additionally, the analysis finds that the stations proposed in the RRC plan are located in areas with a total population that is 49-percent less than that of the proposed Red Line stations, which leads to the conclusion that although taxpayers will be footing a similar, possibly higher, bill compared to the Red Line, they will in return get transportation with dramatically lower ridership.
There’s more: Because the RRC alternative is substantially different from the existing plans for the Red Line, it would send the entire project back to the drawing board. As a result, according to the analysis, the project would “forego the current federal funding recommendation of $900 million and would be subject to annual cost escalation of three percent, or $54 million per year”.
Or put another way: Without a shovel in the ground, the Right Rail Coalition’s plan already costs at least $2.6 billion and rising, with no federal funding available.
It’s predictable that Red Line opponents will deride this report as an MTA conspiracy. But let’s give some credit to actual professional transit engineers. This is a great example of what happens when you go from the luxury of drawing a line on a map to the grueling task of being accountable for making a transit system work in the real world.
If Sen. Ferguson and Del. Hammen agree that improved transit is crucial for Baltimore’s future, they need to stand with our local and federal legislators to fight for the Red Line, instead of being distracted and divided by a hastily conceived “plan” that has the effect of denying Southeast Baltimore access to quality transit service.
Grant Corley, Patterson Park
To the Editor:
I was most sad to read of the passing of Jackie Watts.
I knew that she did very good work for the Guide, and that would have been enough. When one considers her efforts toward Patterson Park and the Southeast Anchor Library, however, it becomes most difficult to decide what her most important legacy is.
The best way to remember Jackie: Read the Guide; use the library; visit the park.
What a legacy.
Denny Olver, Highlandtown