Former Maryland Governor and candidate for the MD Governor Horserace 2010 Robert Ehrlich is restated his stance against the two light rail projects. The two light rail projects are the Baltimore's Red Line and the Washington's DC suburban Purple Line. Problem is that his position actually go against business leaders who support both projects. Instead, he wants to replace the light rail lines with bus rapid transit, which sucks for several reasons.
While bus rapid transit is strongly supported by academics at conservative think tanks such as the Maryland Public Policy Institute, it does not address frequent stops, a need for a right of way not interrupted by traffic, the infrastructure...
Another problem with Maryland's dragging it's feet toward light rail is that the need to seek federal approval for funding for the two light rail projects. But why need to wait for federal funding while the State can fund the projects on their own. The answer is in the roads, or in this case the need to build no more roads. The State of Maryland has plenty of funds for highway construction and maintaience, but has little for public transit.
Remember the huge ten year plan for expansion for MARC? Mid-day trains, expansion to the L’Enfant Plaza, weekend trains, and the like. This is why this plan will never be implemented, because Maryland's transit priorities are screwed up. They just need to stop building roads, and start expanding public transport in frequency and in rolling stock.
Ehrlich's proposal against public transport would be supported in rural areas where he is already popular. Because the people in these rural areas prefer their cars to get to work and expect people to get a car and provide offerings to the car god in the form of insurance and yes gas, despite dealing with traffic gridlock. (And Maryland's graduated driving requirements regardless of age does not help, they still to get to their jobs.) If they got a real alternative instead of spending money on car maintenace and gas they would not complain in the first place.
If State Sen. E.J. Pipkin is opposed to public transit because O'Malley does it at the expense of the rest of the state, while not expand MARC and public transit to the rural counties. Not everyone can get a car, can learn to drive, or even afford to maintain a car. While you may point to Amtrak, it's more suited for intercity travel, and you can't just go out and buy a Amtrak ticket because getting one at the day of where you need to go is expensive. While MARC is just a set fare no matter what time you get the ticket.
While this Horserace may be about jobs, jobs, jobs, economy, economy, economy, how good is jobs and economy if you don't have a extensive transit system.
Quite honestly, Ehrlich if you hate public transport, you might as well tell the carless Marylanders this: “GET A CAR”
Original article can be found here: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-ehrlich-transit-20100616,0,5775363.story