A potential Democratic candidate for governor is calling on Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to release weekly data on a new, overhauled transit system.
Jim Shea, who said this year he was seriously considering a run for the Democratic nomination, criticized Hogan in a statement two days before the official rollout of the new BaltimoreLink bus program. Shea said the data he is requesting will prove whether riders are benefiting.
“Governor Hogan must be held accountable to ensure that BaltimoreLink moves riders throughout the city faster and more reliably,” Shea said in the statement. “The Maryland Transit Administration should publicly release ridership data on a weekly basis so the performance of BaltimoreLink can be fairly evaluated.”
Shea, former chair of Venable LLP, announced in March that he was going to lay the groundwork for a potential bid for governor.
He is one of a number Democrats who have either officially announced or have publicly stated their interest in vying for the opportunity to run against Hogan in 2018.
The list includes other Democrats: Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III; Rep. John Delaney; former Maryland Attorney General and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler; Benjamin Jealous, the former head of the NAACP; Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz; and Montgomery County state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Sr.
The new BaltimoreLink system begins service at 3 a.m. on Sunday with 12 color-coded routes meant to feature more frequent trips that will connect with suburban commuter bus routes, MARC train and light-rail services as well as ride- and bike-sharing services. The plan also calls for dedicated bus lanes in the city and electronic control of traffic signals that will give commuter buses priority.
“Reducing bus routes and rebranding a system with a colorful map are poor substitutes for a comprehensive transportation strategy,” Shea said. “Maryland needs a 21st century transportation system. That requires creating a plan to invest in fast rail lines to move people throughout the region quickly and efficiently. Governor Hogan has neither a plan nor the will to invest. Maryland needs a governor who is committed to investing in transportation infrastructure to improve people’s lives across the state. Larry Hogan is not that governor.”
A spokesman for the governor was not immediately available.
Hogan, speaking on Wednesday, said the overhauled system would transform the city and provide rapid, safe, clean transportation to jobs.
“I stood here on this very spot 19 months ago and committed that we were going to transform Baltimore’s broken transit system, and we have done exactly what we said we were going to do,” Hogan said Wednesday.
Hogan announced the program 19 months ago in the same west Baltimore MARC train station parking lot just months after he announced he was canceling the $2.9 billion Red Line light-rail project.