Former Secretary of Planning critical of Gov. Hogan on Red Line, Baltimore and sprawl

The following is a letter to the “Baltimore Sun” editor that was submitted on Monday, but was not run. The letter is a response to an Op-Ed in the Sun, written jointly by a Republican state senator from western Maryland and a Republican delegate from Howard County. The column highlighted the “One Maryland” concept and, among other things, supported Governor Hogan’s decision to cancel plans for the Red Line in Baltimore City

Dear Editor:

richhall_crop280wI am writing to respond to the August 10, 2015 op-ed “Restoring ‘One Maryland.” This wonderful theme has been well used by State leaders to invoke a team approach since it was initiated by former House of Delegates Speaker Taylor in the 1990s. However, a war on Baltimore is not “One Maryland.”

After ten years of study, spending millions of State dollars on design and engineering, and passing through competitive Federal review and ranking, Governor Hogan killed the Red Line when Baltimore needed it most. He then moved some of that money to questionable road projects. In addition to wasting the State funds and losing the Federal money, we will see several road projects that mow down many acres of farm and forest land, serve little in terms of transportation needs, and will likely induce sprawl development.

The op-ed article states the Maryland Department of Transportation conducted an evaluation on the cost effectiveness of the Red Line. We would love to see it. As a matter of fact, Citizens Planning & Housing Association and 1000 Friends of Maryland filed a Public Information Request to see this evaluation, and now after more than thirty days we still have not seen anything. The reality is that the Hogan Administration has taken advantage of Maryland’s lack of an objective and transparent system for ranking and selecting transportation projects. Among other states, Virginia recently passed such a law—Maryland needs to do so in the 2016 General Assembly session.

One Maryland is supporting revitalization of Cumberland, Hagerstown, Salisbury, Cambridge, the Port Towns, and Baltimore. It is educating all of Maryland’s children. It is clean streams, rivers, and Chesapeake Bay. It is creating jobs. It is many things. It is not pulling the rug out from Baltimore at the last minute. The next time Governor Hogan draws a map of One Maryland, I hope it includes Baltimore.

Richard Eberhart Hall, AICP
Executive Director, Citizens Planning & Housing Association


Baltimore Sun
Restoring ‘One Maryland’
By George Edwards and Robert L. Flanagan

Sen. George Edwards is a Republican representing Allegany and Garrett counties and parts of Washington County. Del. Robert L. Flanagan is a Howard County Republican.

cpha_logoCitizens Planning and Housing Association on the web

Citizens Planning and Housing Association on Facebook

More about Rich Hall from Conduit Street (excerpt from “Planning Directors’ Roundtable Provides Issue Updates & Secretary Hall Reminiscences”):

“At the December 11 meeting of the Maryland Planning Directors’ Roundtable, Maryland Secretary of Planning Richard Hall reminisced about key policies that he has helped enact during his 8-year term as head of the Maryland Department of Planning. He cited the state’s development plan, PlanMaryland, as a policy document aimed at improving communication between state agencies. He credited the 2012 septic tier legislation (SB 236) as helping to preserve farmland and environmentally sensitive land. Hall also expressed pride in efforts to better focus state and local spending efforts through GreenPrint, AgPrint, GrowthPrint and the recent Reinvest Maryland recommendations proposed by the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission and the consolidation of various state aid programs under the Sustainable Communities banner. Finally, he noted the new planning commission and board of appeal education requirements that are now in place.”