Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Taking Action

Since Martin O'Malley seems to be hellbent on brushing aside the continued MARC train issues to the point that one of these days #MARCfail is going to actually become a trending topic on Twitter, Governor Ehrlich is actually trying to do something constructive; listen to MARC's customers through the creation of a "Commuters for Ehrlich" caucus of transit riders who are fed up with the continued failure of Martin O'Malley's MTA.

The group will be led by Craig Borne, who is featured in this video:

I have long been critical of the failures of Martin O'Malley's transit administration; and it is heartening that Governor Ehrlich is taking positive action to solve problems for Maryland.



Ian Logsdon said...

It is really too bad Ehrlich isn't willing to continue rail projects O'Malley has committed to build (and gotten stimulus funds for). He can wrap himself in this issue if he wants, but its clear to me he understands nothing about the experience of people who live in this state and dont have cars/dont drive to work, or he wouldn't be suggesting that baltimore and the DC suburbs don't need new lightrail/heavy rail project, and that buses can make up for a lack of trains. That, to me, is a bigger sign of the fact that Bob Ehrlich does not care about those of us who don't drive.

streiff said...

This is true if you assume rail actually operates without substantial subsidies, that a large number of Marylanders will benefit from the project, or that the state is actually fiscally solvent. Unfortunately, none of those can be answered in the affirmative.

The fact that O'Malley accepted money for a bogus "stimulus" project, which will demand substantial amounts of state money to operate in the future, when the state is facing a budget crisis speaks more to inability of the typical Maryland democrat to comprehend economics than Ehrlich not caring about the pocketbooks of most Marylanders who will not benefit from this boondoggle.

Bruce said...

Ehrlich was and is transit-hostile by policy; MARC was no masterpiece when Team Red ran it. This doesn't make him a bad person, mind you, just that priorities mean that some policies take a back seat and for Bob Ehrlich, that's generally been transit.

But as a pro-transit liberal I find it helpful that Ehrlich is taking O'Malley to task, because unlike Ehrlich O'Malley has absolutely no excuse for failing to prioritize transit management. In the end it's not about O'Malley's guitar but about his implementation of liberal pro-transit policy and if Ehrlich can blacken his eye and bruise the Ego that Strummed on the topic all for the good.

Ian Logsdon said...


The problem is, Baltimore is already at or near capacity for rush hour car traffic, yet the city is continuing to grow in size, meaning either traffic is going to get substantially worse, or more people are going to need accessible transportation options. Buses make congestion worse, wear down roads, and are often dangerous for motorists and cyclists having to coexist with them. If we don't invest in infrastructure to help mitigate the number of people commuting into our population centers, it will hurt us later, that's why large scale transit programs are essential. I'd gladly pay more now knowing there would be a foundation for future growth instead of trying to bandaid the problem until everything comes apart at the seams.

streiff said...

Simply not true.

Right now Baltimore has about 2/3 the population it had in 1950 and is only slightly more populous than it was in 1920

It continues to shed about 1% of its population each year thanks to the great quality of life, incorruptible government and efficient city services. Likewise, businesses are locating to suburban counties, not to Baltimore itself with the possible exception of the area around Inner Harbor.

You might very well make the decision that you'd be willing to pay more to make life in a moribund city more pleasant. Fine. I don't care to pay to make the life of a handful of yuppies more pleasant. I especially don't like accepting white elephants that reduce the ability of the government to respond to real needs of its citizens.

Rail is a losing proposition. There are places, like Washington and it suburbs, where the expense is arguably justified. Otherwise it is a luxury or a vanity item.

petecar17 said...

The MARC system administrators need to issue some sort substantive mass apology to all of the commuters that they have frustrated over the past 1-2 months.

They also need to find a better way to get constructive feedback from commuters heard by those in charge. A public "airing of grievances" looks good for the press, but its only going to allow a couple of extremely angry passengers to tell their latest story. And even that doesn't do any good if the decision-makers aren't there and the middle-managers aren't even listening.

What they need is to send out a survey to see what passengers really want/need from their daily commute.