Ehrlich forms commuters' group
In another sign that transportation will be a high-profile issue in this year's governor's race, former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has announced formation of a Commuters for Ehrlich group to push the message that he would do a better job of getting people to work and back than Gov. Martin O'Malley.
The Ehrlich campaign said the group would be chaired by Craig Borne, a sight-impaired Baltimore County resident who depends on the MARC system to get to work. Borne, a 2006 Republican candidate for the Maryland Senate, taped an interview about his reasons for supporting Ehrlich.
The launch of the commuter group is a further attempt to find political traction in the recent problems of the MARC commuter train system.
“Marylanders spend a lot of time and resources getting to their jobs and their schools. They ought to get their money’s worth. ” Ehrlich said. “We need our transit system and our roads to be safe, reliable, and efficient for transit riders, drivers and cyclists. I am honored that Craig has agreed to chair this coalition. Like thousands of Marylanders, Craig relies on our transportation system during a very difficult economy, yet has experienced far too many disappointments. This coalition will help raise awareness about the need for real progress in Maryland and offer me a vital source of citizen input on how to fix a broken transportation system. I am grateful for their support.”
An obvious question is how would Ehrlich manage the relations with CSX and Amtrak any better than O'Malley has done -- or than Ehrlich did during his first go-round as governor. On the other hand, while O'Malley has shown a willingness to invest money in MARC, he's yet to show a convincing payoff in terms of trouble-free operations.
It's good to see transportation issues getting an airing in the campaign, but the basic question commuters should have for each candidate is: Where do we get the money to replenish the depleted Transportation Trust Fund?
It's hard to envision a real solution to the woes of MARC or any other transportation mode without substantial capital investments.