Friday, January 26, 2007
MARYLAND GOV. Martin O'Malley (D) is set to push for three long-sought transportation projects that this region needs as quickly as possible. The governor's transportation secretary, John D. Porcari, says Mr. O'Malley is squarely behind completion of the intercounty connector, a Purple Line and a dedicated source of state revenue for Metro. Details on all three fronts are coming, Mr. Porcari promises.
Maryland, Virginia and the District must each dedicate financing for Metro as a prerequisite for $1.5 billion in federal funding. The District has done its part, and Virginia lawmakers are negotiating. With Maryland looking to jump into the pool, Virginia lawmakers staring at elections this year may feel newly energized to find the money. The stakes are enormous, and neither Virginia nor Maryland should be the deal-killer.
The Purple Line (the O'Malley administration is reviving the name that his predecessors tried to change to a vague "Bi-County Transitway") would receive state money to determine routing and rail options to connect Montgomery and Prince George's counties by rapid transit. As for the intercounty connector -- which Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) rightly rescued after an attempted murder of the project by his predecessor, Parris N. Glendening (D) -- Mr. Porcari states flatly that the governor wants it built. To underscore Mr.O'Malley's support for the connector, which would link Interstates 95 and 270, Mr. Porcari says that Maryland will seek to become a party in two lawsuits filed by connector opponents. That ought to reassure any doubters and convince the Montgomery Planning Board that sales of land along the route should proceed.