Ehrlich purple in the face?
At a business round table last month in Montgomery County, former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said he wasn't so much a fan of the planned Purple Line there or Baltimore's Red Line -- saying those light rail projects cost more than the state can afford right now.
Ehrlich, a Republican vying for the seat Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley took from him four years ago, said rapid buses might be a better solution in Montgomery County. He said he'd be open to ideas about transportation in Baltimore.
The Sun's Michael Dresser examines this morning how Ehrlich's comments may have inflamed some of the very same people he is hoping will propel him to victory this fall -- Montgomery County business leaders.
After Ehrlich's remarks, the head of the Greater Washington Board of Trade said he was "scratching my head" over whether the former governor had come to Montgomery to win votes or lose them.
Jim Dinegar, president of the business group, said his organization stands "foursquare" behind O'Malley's choice of light rail as the "locally preferred option" on the Purple Line. He said Ehrlich's rejection of light rail in favor of a bus project is "going to raise a lot of eyebrows in Montgomery County."
"The passion around the Purple Line is very strong and absolutely will have implications for voters," Dinegar said.
O'Malley's campaign this morning seized on Ehrlich's comments. "In case you missed it, Bob Ehrlich showed just how out of touch he is by announcing that he would kill the Red and Purple Line projects," O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said in a statement. "These projects moving forward under Governor O'Malley would create thousands of construction jobs in Maryland, relieve gridlock on our roads, and attract new businesses to the region."