The MARC Train Ride from Hell is starting to become a perfect microcosm of the failures of the O'Malley Administration.
MARC train service has been a problem throughout the O'Malley Administration. The entire Maryland Transit Administration has been a mess throughout the O'Malley Administration. Then earlier this week, we had the complete breakdown of common sense and order on MARC Train 538. Thousands of suburban, middle-class voters commuting between D.C. and the Washington area get stuck in sweltering, inhuman heat on a train for two hours.
Then and only then does Martin O'Malley wake up from his rock star dreams to deal with the harsh reality of the situation by....appearing for a campaign spectacle photo op to try and cover his indifference on the issue. And even then, his presence didn't exactly stop more grisly conditions on today's trains.
The fact that Secretary of Transportation Beverly Swaim-Staley or embattled Transit Administrator Ralign Wells never bothered to show up to MARC riders advisory committee meetings probably explains a heck of a lot about the continued failures of the MTA to deal with this.....though it does explain why Ralign Wells thinks that all of MTA's problems are with their perception.
And don't forget that beyond the MARC train debacle, the MTA remains the gang that couldn't shoot straight on other issues, too.
Martin O'Malley's dealing with the "hell train" fiasco from early in the week has been eerily similar to the way he has run his entire administration:
- Identify the problem;
- Ignore the problem;
- Notice that the problem has begat some sort of calamity, particularly one that impacts white, suruban, middle class voters from Baltimore or Howard Counties;
- See if the problem is your fault;
- Create a photo op to address the problem;
- Blame Bob Ehrlich;
- Go back to ignoring the problem.
While Martin O'Malley has been ignoring transit issues for his entire administration, many critics (of which I include myself) have been documenting problems with the Transit Administration for several years. He is little more than a Johnny Come-lately on this issue, particularly as it relates to MARC trains. Only now that his failure to lead on reforming the MTA has led to such a public relations nightmare has O'Malley finally decided to give the appearance that he is doing something about it.
We're wathcing Governor...prove us wrong.