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Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

Mayor holds breath on fate of Red Line

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Tuesday she’s still holding out hope that the Red Line light rail project can be saved.

“I’m still holding out hope that there is a way that the (city) delegation can keep it alive,” Rawlings-Blake said during an interview on WBAL radio.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced last week that he would not move forward on a plan to build the 14.1-mile long Red Line project that would connect Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center with Woodlawn in Baltimore County. The governor described the $2.9 billion project, which included a more than three-mile tunnel under the city at a cost of $1 billion, as a boondoggle.

“The current (Red Line) proposal is not a design that meets the needs of Baltimore City,” Hogan said last week. “It requires the construction of a billion-dollar tunnel through the heart of the city. At $3 billion the current design fails to integrate effectively Baltimore’s existing infrastructure.”

The governor announced at the same time that the state would build the 14.1 mile Purple Line project that will connect New Carrollton in Prince George’s County to Bethesda in Montgomery County. The cost of the $2.5 billion project will be trimmed down with the elimination of some station design elements; a reduced number of cars that will increase wait times between trains by about 2 minutes; reduced state contributions; and about $100 million in additional contributions from Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

Baltimore City transportation officials last week called the decision a major blow to the jurisdiction’s incomplete and aging transportation system and were scrambling for a plan B.

“We were kind of thinking the Red Line was going to be a good start. It wasn’t the answer to everything, but it was a good start,” said Baltimore Department of Transportation Director William Johnson.

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