Reviving the Red Line to connect East and West Baltimore is long overdue. The idea for an East-West rapid transit connection goes back decades, and its need goes back even further — before the streetcars stopped running in 1963. Right now, we are in a historic moment. If we come together as a region behind this project, we can unleash the Greater Baltimore region’s economic renaissance.
Gov. Wes Moore and Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller announced a revived and expedited process to relaunch the project. During the next 10 months, the Maryland Transit Administration and the state will be reengaging the community to confirm the alignment of the East-West transit line, the extent of tunneling downtown, and what form of rapid transit is most effective, reliable and capable of driving inclusive economic growth in communities along the corridor.
We thank the governor and lieutenant governor for their leadership. While many meetings and decisions lie ahead, we stand united behind the revived process. We also encourage the governor to move with all haste. The region has simply been waiting too long for this moment. We stand ready to partner with the Moore administration in hopes that this vital project can start construction within the governor’s first term.
Underinvestment in Baltimore’s transit system has held back our region’s economic growth and vitality for decades. As leaders in the business community, we knew something had to change. So, in 2022, the Greater Baltimore Committee and the Greater Washington Partnership came together on “Baltimore’s Transit Future,” a shared commitment to unlock the economic potential of the Baltimore region by providing more equitable access to opportunity through transit investments.
As we began to move this plan forward, we found we weren’t alone in our commitment. More than 70 Greater Baltimore businesses and institutions joined our call to action around rallying support for the generational investments in our regional transit system that are needed to position our economy for success in an ever-competitive business environment. On May 25th, the Greater Baltimore Committee held its first annual meeting since merging with the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, during which we identified advancing forward-looking transportation and infrastructure projects as a key focus of our “Multi-Year Agenda.”
Since the launch of Baltimore’s Transit Future, we have seen the Moore-Miller administration take up the mantle of pushing transit forward. By the end of the 2023 Maryland General Assembly session and the Moore-Miller administration’s first 100 days, Gov. Moore, Lt. Gov. Miller and the General Assembly leadership had already taken decisive action to advance a world-class transit system for Greater Baltimore. Bold measures such as establishing a Regional Transit Commission, passing the Fair Fares Act, and committing up to $200 million in state funding for major transit projects represent a historic turning point for Greater Baltimore’s economic vibrancy and vitality.
Still, we know there is much more work to be done to unleash the full economic potential of the Baltimore region. The Greater Baltimore Committee and the Greater Washington Partnership stand united behind investing in our transit system to create jobs and to drive inclusive economic development across the Baltimore region.
Together, we can make sure Maryland is leveraging the federal government’s largest transit investment in history to ensure we are building the infrastructure and mobility system that can power our economy for decades to come. Continued collaboration between our public and private leaders is necessary to drive forward projects that expand equitable, accessible, safe, reliable and competitive transit options.
A better transit network can create a better region for us all. If you are a business, institution or community leader and would like to join the growing team of regional leaders pressing for Baltimore’s Transit Future, learn more here.
It is time to connect East and West Baltimore via the new Red Line. Together, we can get this done.
Mark Anthony Thomas is the CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee and has served in public leadership roles in Pittsburgh, New York City and Los Angeles shaping economic development strategies.
Kathy E. Hollinger is the CEO of the Greater Washington Partnership, with three decades working in this region to promote economic growth and development across industries and communities.