|Transportation Secretary Rahn explaining the Link transit plans to reporters|
in front of a "wrapped" bus
|Two wrapped buses were part of the setting for the announcement|
|A rendering of the new bus branding served as backdrop for the speakers|
|With Gov Hogan is Senator Pugh, Councilman Young and Jimmy Rouse of Transit Choices. Mayor|
Rawlings Blake preferred to remain absent
West Baltimore's MARC station was the backdrop for Governor O'Malley to announce the preferred alternative for the Red Line and where Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and other officials requested in July that Hogan reconsider his decision to kill the $2.9 billion, 14.1-mile long Red Line that would have linked Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in east Baltimore with Woodlawn in Baltimore County with a station right there at the MARC stop.
|O'Malley at the LPA announcement for the Red Line in|
|MTA Administrator Paul Comfort speaking to reporters|
There was some hyperbole at the event starting with words like "blowing up the current system" and rebuilding it". "The current transit is broken", says Pete Rahn. "We will deliver results of this plan "within days".
Governor Hogan appeared at West Baltimore at his first event after his final chemotherapy. "For the first time in history Baltimoreans will be able to travel conveniently and efficient on Baltimore transit" he said. "Baltimore's current transit network is a mess". $135 million of new funding will be made available to have a direct impact on transit services. "We will have a system of 12 new high frequency link routes". With it, citizens will be able to ride from any point to any other point with a maximum of one transfer. There will be an expanded high frequency east-west service with 10 minute service from Social Security to Charles Center/ City Hall starting this Sunday.
Implementation will start immediately and could be completed in 2017. New transit hubs will be created for improved access. There supposedly will also be signal priority for buses. "The people of Baltimore rely on transit and the State has a responsibility" to provide this service, said Hogan.
"It is unacceptable for Maryland's largest and most important city to have an antiquated and broken transit system," Hogan said. "Perhaps even worse is both city and state leaders have largely ignored these failings of our system for decades. Beginning today, that is going to change."
|The unveiled newly branded Link Bus. The new Link buses will be branded but|
according to bus coordinator Michael Walk the windows will not stay covered for goo.
Council President Jack Young, the only higher ranking representative from the City (with him was Councilman Stokes) stated: "Hogan's plan is a great step towards a world class bus system".
|Senator Pugh: "we want to be a first class city". Behind Pugh the color codes Link lines|
(Red shirt: Stuart Sirota, Assistant Secretary of Planning)
Secretary Rahn announced extensive listening sessions starting in two weeks. There will be new bike cars on all weekend MARC trains starting immediately. To make the immediate Link service improvements Rahn pointed to five new bus drivers, 55 additional ones have been approved as well as an order of 87 new buses (not hybrid). It isn't clear how many are really net additional and how many are replacements.
Klaus Philipsen, FAIA