The Maryland Transit Administration's Baltimore Red Line received a Record of Decision (ROD) from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA); a step that makes the first major expansion of the Baltimore region’s transit network since the early 1990’s eligible for future federal approvals and funding.
The ROD marks the end of a rigorous and extensive process to identify and then avoid, minimize or mitigate possible impacts to communities, historic buildings and natural resources such as parks, wetlands and trees. The decision is based on information presented in a Final Environmental Impact Statement that was completed in December, 2012.
The 14.1-mile light rail line will have 19 stations while enabling riders to connect to existing Metro subway, light rail and MARC train lines. Expected ridership by 2035 is more than 50,000 passengers per day, and construction of the Red Line is estimated to create 9,800 direct construction and related jobs during the six-year construction period.
“This is a big day for the Red Line and the future of transit in Maryland,” said Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. “Now, we must move to our next challenge which is providing the state funds necessary to keep this project moving. Without an increase in transportation funding, work on the Red Line will come to a halt later this year as the state dollars simply aren’t there to continue.
Additionally, Gov. O’Malley, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and House Speaker Michael E. Busch proposed legislation (HB 1515) to increase transportation investment. The initiative would raise $3.4 billion over five years support up to 44,000 jobs.