ANNAPOLIS, JULY 10 -- When the D.C. Statehood Coalition asked Gov. William Donald Schaefer to endorse statehood for the District, there was surprise at how readily Schaefer's staff agreed to the request, according to coalition spokesman Bill Bronrott.

Bronrott said he figured the decisive action was a result of Schaefer's "do it now" philosophy. "I know he's a governor who's a doer -- he doesn't hesitate to do something immediately if he believes in it," Bronrott said.

But that was before Schaefer's staff pulled the plug on the planned endorsement, which was supposed to happen Saturday in Baltimore during a whistlestop train trip to promote D.C. statehood. The cause will not be getting Schaefer's endorsement after all -- at least not yet.

A spokeswoman for the governor said late today that plans for the reading of a gubernatorial proclamation strongly endorsing D.C. statehood have been scrubbed, along with the designation of Saturday as "Liberty Bell Express -- D.C. Statehood Day."

Deputy press secretary Sue Pimentel said "staff error" was to blame for the premature announcement of a decision to support the controversial question of D.C. statehood.

The governor, she said, won't make up his mind on the issue until he hears the views of the Maryland congressional delegation at a meeting later this month.

Many members of the delegation have reservations about a bill Congress is considering that would grant statehood to the District, in part because some city officials have said they would like to impose a commuter tax on suburban workers employed in the city. Congress, which oversees the District budget, has killed past efforts to impose a commuter tax.

Schaefer's one-time endorsement was apparently seen by some Prince George's and Montgomery officials as evidence that the Baltimore-oriented governor is out of touch with Washington area concerns.

"I guess he was perhaps looking at {statehood} in sort of a vacuum," said Rep. Constance Morella (R-Md.). "Who do you think would be paying a commuter tax? My constituents" in Montgomery County, she added.

While the statehood bill is supported by some area legislators, it has run into strong opposition from Rep. Stan Parris (R-Va.), a conservative Northern Virginian who plans to try to block its passage.

If that is not possible, he has said he will try to prevent the new state from levying a commuter tax.

The chief proponent of a commuter tax is Del. Walter E. Fauntroy (D-D.C.), who is also sponsor of the bill that would grant the District statehood.

Bronrott said he was disappointed at the Schaefer administration's turnabout, but statehood proponents said it would have little impact on the overall success of the promotion of their cause on Saturday's train trip.

A specially outfitted train carrying statehood supporters from Washington is scheduled to receive endorsements from the mayors of Baltimore, Wilmington and Philadelphia.

Staff writer Tom Sherwood contributed to this report.