This spring, Maryland Secretary of Transportation Pete Rahn and the Hogan Administration are conducting their own reviews of two light rail projects planned for Maryland:  the Purple Line in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties and the Red Line in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.  For anyone seeking to improve access to jobs for Baltimore City residents the Red Line is a critical opportunity.

The region will receive a huge economic boost from the nearly 10,000 jobs generated by Red Line construction, expected to take eight years. Once the new stations open, permanent jobs will spring up as businesses locate nearby and retail shops open their doors to take advantage of heavy transit traffic. According to the American Public Transportation Association, every $10 million in capital spending on public transportation yields $30 million in added business sales.

The Red Line would also have a profound impact on access to jobs. This is where ABC’s More and the Middle agenda and the Red Line connect – the connection to economic opportunity provided by transportation.

Since 1969, the city’s employment base has shrunk by 28.5% while suburban jobs have increased an astonishing 182.6% – an addition of 810,500 jobs.  The trend of central-city job loss and suburban job growth makes access to employment difficult if not impossible for people who live in the city but do not have access to a car.  In Baltimore City 30% of households do not have a car, and in some neighborhoods along the Red Line corridor that figure approaches 70% of households.  In addition the neighborhoods along the Red Line corridor, particularly on Baltimore’s west side are where the highest percentages of people endure commutes over 45 minutes to get to work.

It is bad for the individuals, bad for the regional economy and bad for businesses to have a disconnect between people and employers. 

As the first east-west line in the region’s rail system the Red Line would increase the number of residents who have access to regional rail transit by 83,000, a 62% increase over today.

The Red Line is precisely the best investment we can make to strengthen Baltimore City and the Baltimore region economically and get more of its residents connected to jobs.

Do us a favor please – share this story and the impact of having the Red Line with you network, your family, your friends, your neighbor – your voices matter.