Transit Safety and Investment Act Sponsored by McCray and Lierman Would Ensure Equitable MTA Funding
Today, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball joined with Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, and Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, to express support for the Transit Safety and Investment Act. This state legislation would ensure a regional transportation system that is safe, equitably-funded, and reliable to connect people across the state to their jobs and destinations. Video of the event can be found here.
The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) provides approximately 320,000 rides a day for residents in Baltimore City, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, and St. Mary’s Counties.
“Howard County has a shared interest in solving our transportation challenges in the Baltimore-Washington region,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. ”Nearly 60 percent of our residents commute in and out of Howard County every day, and we need both a well-run and adequately funded transit system if we want to improve the quality of life and opportunities for our residents and businesses. Howard County is the linchpin between these two regions, bordering six jurisdictions and positioned squarely in the center of any effective regional transit plan. Ultimately, equitable and efficient transportation is not just important to our residents, but to our entire state’s economy and mobility.”
“Making the needed investments to build a transportation system that is more responsive and reliable is the key to a safer, stronger, more vibrant Baltimore,” said Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “Almost a third of Baltimore households do not have reliable access to a vehicle, with much higher concentrations in historically redlined neighborhoods. Supporting the Transit Safety and Investment Act is one big way we can support our essential workers, including our cleaning staff, medical professionals, and transit workers, during this public health emergency and beyond.”
The Transit Safety and Investment Act, sponsored by Senator Cory McCray and Delegate Brooke Lierman, ensures that equitable funding is provided to meet the Maryland Transportation Administration (MTA) needs across the state.
“I am sponsoring the Transit Safety and Investment Act in the Senate because for too long we’ve allowed our public transit system to be underfunded, failing to meet core infrastructure needs. Our seniors rely on public transit to pickup prescriptions. Our children rely on it to get to school. And it’s become evidently clearer that our region’s frontline workers find public buses and trains a necessity as they meet the essential needs of our neighborhoods,” said Senator Cory McCray. “It is imperative that we not only promote, but also invest in a safe and reliable transit system. As the State of Good Repair Indicator reflects, the American Society of Civil Engineers found this year what transit riders already know: our bus and train infrastructure is in decline. We can no longer wait to make the necessary investments. I look forward to working with Delegate Brooke Lierman and our colleagues in the General Assembly to prioritize this most pressing transportation issue and pass the Transit Safety & Investment Act.”
“Every year, more Marylanders are being stranded by our inadequate public transit system. Whether you live in central Maryland, the Eastern Shore, or the DC Suburbs, you deserve reliable transit And yet, MTA has a gap of over $2bn in the next ten years between what it needs to keep operating – and failing,” said Delegate Brooke Lierman, the sponsor of the bill in the House. “The state must maintain its assets and keep up its promise of providing reliable and safe transit to our essential workers and any Marylander who wants it or needs it. Our economy, our environment, and the long-term success of our state depend on funding our transit system.”
The legislation would provide the MTA with capital and operating funding to address a backlog of state of good repair needs, maintenance, and pressing issues including buses, bus shelters, rail, tracks, safety and security systems, and environmentally-friendly technologies.
“Access to efficient, reliable transit is fundamental to improving quality of life across the Baltimore region,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “The Transit Safety and Reinvestment Act represents an important step forward to ensure the state provides the resources necessary for MTA to more fully provide the quality of service that all our residents expect and deserve.”
“For all of central Maryland, transit funding is the key to economic development, economic justice, and environmental progress,” said Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman. “Let’s return Maryland to the smart growth principles of previous administrations, and let’s start by reinvesting in Baltimore region transit.”
The executives were joined by representatives from Johns Hopkins, the Amalgamated Transit Union, and Tradepoint Atlantic, who each emphasized the importance of a well-funded, efficient system that can connect riders to anchor institutions and jobs across the region.
“As Maryland’s largest private employer, Johns Hopkins understands the critical role our transportation system plays in ensuring the economic competitiveness of our state and region and in the lives of all our employees, students, patients, and visitors who rely on it to get to work or school, to access healthcare, or to meet their basic needs each day,” said Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels. “This legislation is a crucial part of sustaining the health and economic livelihood of our communities and providing equal access to jobs and opportunity for our neighbors, and we are pleased to stand with Mayor Scott, the bill’s sponsors Senator McCray and Delegate Lierman, and our other local and community leaders to support the bill again this year.”
“On behalf of ATU Local 1300, which represents employees of the MTA, we support the Transit Safety and Investment Act. This transit system needs to be fully funded for Maryland to have an equitable and reliable system for our members and the riding public,” said Michael McMillan, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1300. “Our members are the ones that move this city and state. They are on the frontline and are the ones catching the blame for an underfunded public transit system because their faces are seen by the public when there is not enough service due to a lack of funds. We are honored and pleased to stand together with the Mayor, State senators and delegates, and County Executives in support of this legislation.”
For State of Good Repairs, the Capital Needs Inventory identified that the MTA would need an average of $462 million per year to meet those repair needs. The Capital Needs Inventory also identified an additional $100 million per year needed for capital enhancements. The Maryland Department of Transportation’s draft FY 2020–2025 Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP) provides MTA only $326 million on average per year for the Capital Needs Inventory.