Republican gubernatorial nominee William S. Shepard has regularly taken Democrat William Donald Schaefer to task as a big-spending, uncaring governor who favors splashy construction projects over people programs. Mr. Shepard has accused the incumbent of bringing on "an economic Dunkirk" with his free-spending ways, ignoring warning signs flashed by legislators.
Much of this is election-year rhetoric. But there is some truth, too. The governor has embarked on large-scale projects. He has pushed hard for a raft of building programs and short-changed some social programs. He has been remiss in demanding frugality from his administration.
Mr. Shepard errs, though, in dismissing these projects as glitzy baubles and accusing Mr. Schaefer of misdirected priorities.
Yes, the governor commenced large construction jobs, such as the Baltimore-area light-rail line and the sports stadium complex. Yet there were strong economic motives Mr. Shepard overlooks. The light-rail line offers a realistic alternative to clogged highways. It will spur development along its 27 miles, especially in Hunt Valley and at BWI Airport. It makes the city's large job pool accessible to suburban employers.