Three city lawmakers back Red Line
Three Baltimore legislators from a district along the route of the proposed Red Line will not support any attempt to scuttle the project in Annapolis, one of them said today.
Del. Sandy Rosenberg said he and two district colleagues, Del. Jill Carter and Sen. Lisa Gladden "will not support any legislation that would jeopardize or delay funding for the Red Line." The fourth member of that delegation, Del. Nathaniel Oaks, has not yet weighed in on the matter.
The 41st District delegation had previously publicly supported an alternative light rail plan that would have run trains in tunnels under Edmondson Ave. and Boston St. But after Maryland Transit Administration studies showed that the cost of that plan would have exceeded federal funding guidelines, Gov. Martin O'Malley decided to support a plan that would keep trains on the surface on those streets.
Rosenberg said he and his two colleagues regretted that the federal guidelines prompted that decision but did not blame O'Malley for reaching the conclusion he did. Rosenberg pointed to earlier concessions won by lawmakers, including a guarantee that the project would not displace anyone from their homes and a tunnel under narrow Cooks Lane in West Baltimore.
No residential displacements were in the MTA's plans for the Red Line but the lawmakers' success in writing that guarantee into law has immense significance in West Baltimore, where many residents have vivid memories of being ousted from their homes to make way for eventually aborted highway projects.
Rosenberg noted that Mayor Sheila Dixon and School Superintendent Andres Alonso have pledged to develop a new career and technology curriculum at the Edmondson High School and Westside Skills Center on the Red Line.
"This is a direct result of our request for job training for residents along the Red Line. Transit-oriented development along the Edmondson Ave. corridor will also provide jobs and community development," Rosenberg wrote.
Gladden's support for the Red Line, along with that of 44th District Sen. Verna Jones mean that two of the three city senators whose districts are most affected by the transit line would line up in favor of it. Sen. George Della, who represents the Boston Street corridor, is opposed.
The city's other three senators have yet to be heard from but their constituents would have far less reason to object than those of the others.
Any members of the Baltimore city delegation who want to contact Getting There to make their positions known are invited to do so.