October 4, 2011

Long-term Operation Orange Cone signs irk resident

Mac Nachlas of Mount Washington has a gripe with the signs that have been popping up in his neighborhood. It sounds like a reasonable complaint to me. Let's let him explain:

Ok, I'm used to politicians claiming credit for doing their jobs and I know it's an election year.... and I'm no TEA Party fanatic, but the recent introduction of permanent, metal signs to denote each newly repaved street has me bugged.

 "Project Orange Cone" started as a catchy phrase that did not harm. A temporary sign at each construction site gave the mayor du jour credit for road resurfacing (which one assumes is the job of the city anyway), but the signs didn't cost very much and disappeared with the paving crew.

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Posted by Michael Dresser at 6:44 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Politics & transportation

April 7, 2011

Ulman: Partisanship impedes transportation funding

After a series of speakers at today's Central Maryland Regional Transit summit bemoaned the state's failure to find a source of revenue to bolster the ailing Transportation Trust Fund, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman got down to the political nitty-gritty from a Democrat's point of view.

Shortly after Greater Baltimore Committee President Donald C. Fry conceded that proposals to raise the state's gas tax or otherwise increase transportation revenue were dead for the year, Ulman put the blame on Republican intransigence and Democratic timidity.

"One of the biggest challenges we have to grapple with is that this has become a partisan issue, Ulman said.

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Posted by Michael Dresser at 3:27 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Politics & transportation

MARC, commuter buses to run during shutdown

If the federal government shuts down because of the current budget impasses, as seems increasingly likely, MARC and commuter bus service will continue on a normal schedule -- at least at first.

The Maryland Transit Administration says that if ridership levels plummet, it might decide to reduce service. But transit riders who work for  non-government employers in Washington -- as well as reverse commuters -- apparently will not be forced into cars because of a shutdown.


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Posted by Michael Dresser at 2:09 PM | | Comments (1)

November 10, 2010

Travel plaza: State was concerned few would bid

Maryland transporation officials pulled the plug on the bid process for redevelopment of two travel plazas on Interstate 95 largely because they were concerned that their solicitation of proposals had become so muddled that few prospective contractors would have made offers.

Although the Maryland Transportation Authority has been making plans to seek a private partner to redevelop and operate the aging  Maryland House and Chesapeake House for more than four years, the request for proposals the agency issued early this year had undergone at least seven revisions and several deadline extensions.

In an interview, Maryland Transportation Secretary Beverly Swaim-Staley said state officials ultimately decider it would be wiser  to cancel the RFP, go back to the start and draft a clean document with the help of a consultant familiar with the arcane world of public-private partnerships. Sometime early next year, the state expects to start seeking bids again.

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Posted by Michael Dresser at 2:29 PM | | Comments (1)

August 12, 2010

Get breaking news on traffic, transit here

Has a four-vehicle crash closed the Jones Falls Expressway? Did a light rail train jump the tracks? Are hundreds of passengers stranded on a MARC train?

You can find out fast by receiving text message alerts from The Baltimore Sun's Breaking News Desk. Just click here to sign up to receive traffic alerts and other news as it happens. These are not routine announcements or advisories about everyday congestion but the type of major developments that can help commuters get to home or work faster.

There is no charge for the service from The Sun, though standard test-message charges from cell phone providers may apply.


Posted by Michael Dresser at 5:28 PM | | Comments (0)

August 10, 2010

O'Malley supports Purple Line, dodges on gas tax

It was no accident that Gov. Martin O’Malley wore a purple tie to his campaign event in Silver Spring this morning.

The governor met with about two dozen small business owners and other voters at the Tastee Diner in this Montgomery County community to discuss his approach to transit issues -- and to underscore his support for a light rail project known as the Purple Line and the opposition of former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to it.

While O’Malley launched no new verbal missiles at his prospective Republican opponent, he used the Purple Line issue to underscore a stark policy difference between the two.

Ehrlich has said he would scrap the O’Malley administration’s plan to build a light rail line between Bethesda and New Carrollton, saying the state can’t afford it. O’Maley cast that position an an example of a retrun to the past -- a central theme of his re-election campaign.

“For whatever reason, Bob Ehrlich has decided to turn back the clock and take Maryland back,” OMalley said. “I think it shows a contrast between the way the two of us look at the future.”

Continue reading "O'Malley supports Purple Line, dodges on gas tax" »

Posted by Matthew Hay Brown at 12:46 PM | | Comments (0)

July 7, 2010

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.





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Posted by Michael Dresser at 1:53 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Politics & transportation
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About Michael Dresser
Michael Dresser has been an editor, reporter and columnist with The Sun longer than Baltimore's had a subway. He's covered retailing, telecommunications, state politics and wine. Since 2004, he's been The Sun's transportation writer. He lives in Ellicott City with his wife and travel companion, Cindy.

His Getting There column appears on Mondays. Mike's blog will be a forum for all who are interested in highways, transit and other transportation issues affecting Baltimore, Maryland and the region.

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