Local Funding Requirements, Total Project Cost Are Sticking Points For Red Line

An article in the Daily Record states that local funding requirements aren’t the only sticking point for the Baltimore area Red Line. The overall project cost is also an obstacle.

State Sen. Bill Ferguson, who represents South and Southeast Baltimore, said proposed alterations to the light rail route near Harbor East and the associated cost remain substantial obstacles to the project.

“I don’t think that it’s just the local funding. This is symbolic of larger issues. It’s a billion (dollars) over budget without even one shovel in the ground,” Ferguson said.

In his comments, he is referring to project changes that have been proposed to address issues raised by H&S Bakery owner and developer John Paterakis. These changes could add $200 million to $250 million to the project.

But the senator acknowledged that how the project will be financed is an issue. According to state budget documents, the state is looking for Baltimore and Baltimore County to contribute $250 million toward the construction of the 14.1 mile route that would run between Woodlawn in Baltimore County and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in East Baltimore.

“We need to know what the real final costs will be. Initially, we were told this was a 50-50 state and federal project. Over the last eight to 10 months that formula has changed,” he said.

As recently reported  on Conduit Street, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz sent a letter to state transportation officials indicating that the county is willing to pay $26.5 million in “in-kind” contributions for the transit line — covering street realignments, stormwater management and sidewalk construction, among other things. Baltimore City is continuing to negotiate its contribution towards the project.

The state has asked the county for $50 million and Baltimore City for $200 million.

The full article can be found on the Daily Record’s website.