Sunday, July 17, 2016

And THAT'S Why You Don't Throw Away A Billion Dollars

In federal transportation dollars, that is.

I have written previously about the foolishness of Maryland's current mistake for a governor, Larry Hogan, in halting the Red Line cross-town transit project for Baltimore, which had the potential to begin the process of building what Baltimore and Maryland desperately need:  a true metropolitan rail system that could link Charm City with the nation's capital and create, in the process, an economic powerhouse on the scale of New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.  Foolishness, in fact, even by Republican standards:  his former mentor, former Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich, consistently stressed the need to capture every federal dollar available.  (I should know:  as a then-State employee, I was at Board of Public Works meetings and heard him say it.)

But somehow, good ol' Larry thought that he could then come back to Washington and request more than ONE-FOURTH of the money available to the ENTIRE NATION for two transportation projects, one of which just happens to benefit a cushy real estate development.  And what a surprise:  Uncle Sam said no.

And now, generations of Baltimoreans and Marylanders will have to pay the price for Hogan's opportunistic, short-sighted attempt to look like a big-budget cutter.  Why didn't he do with the Red Line what he did with the Purple Line:  ask Baltimore to assume a bigger share of the cost?  Or scale down the size of the project, to make it more affordable?

Nah.  That would have been way too reasonable.  Better to stick the budget knife into the urban corpse of Baltimore.  Folks there aren't going to vote for you in 2018.

Well, guess what?  No one else should, either.  Because we all lost something when you killed the Red Line, Larry.  People will figure that out in two years.  And then, we'll see if you're popularity still hovers at 70%.

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