Advocacy Groups Make PIA Request on Red Line Cancellation

A July 10, 2015, Baltimore Business Journal article reported that 1000 Friends of Maryland and the Citizens Planning and Housing Association have filed a Public Information Act (PIA) request with the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) seeking data, communications, and recommendations related to Governor Larry Hogan’s decision to cancel the proposed Red Line mass transit project in Baltimore City. The article noted the two groups question whether a full evaluation was undertaken for the Red Line:

Some information has been published about the review process Hogan used for the [conditional approval of the] Purple Line in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, said Dru Schmidt-Perkins, CEO of 1,000 Friends of Maryland…But Schmidt-Perkins has seen no similar information about what reviews officials conducted before axing the Red Line.

“We are fairly confident none of that happened with the Red Line,” she said. “If any review was done, it could only have been the most simplistic approach.” …

Without looking at the Hogan administration’s review documents, it will be impossible to chart a path forward, said Richard Hall, executive director of the Citizens Planning and Housing Association and a former secretary of the Maryland Department of Planning when Martin O’Malley was governor.

“We don’t want to necessarily cry over spilled milk,” Hall said. “What do we do next? Is there absolutely zero chance that the Red Line can live? And it will inform us what a ‘Plan B’ could be.”

The article also noted that the Governor’s Office released a statement saying that MDOT conducted a review for both the Red and Purple Lines, consistent with Governor’s directive.

A state or local government agency normally has 30 days to respond to a PIA request.  The 2015 MACo Summer Conference will feature a session on the recent and significant changes made to Maryland’s PIA law and what those changes mean for counties. Read more about that session.

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