State expected to OK payment of $9 million for light-rail line

April 10, 1991|By Doug Birch

The state is expected to end 2 1/2 years of tough negotiations that set back construction of the Baltimore light-rail line by ratifying an agreement on April 24 to pay $9 million for the Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad, a spokesman for the governor said yesterday.

Paul E. Schurick, the governor's press secretary, said the state Board of Public Works will probably vote in two weeks to approve payment of $1.5 million per mile for the six-mile freight railroad, which runs from the city's southern border to Dorsey Road near Glen Burnie.

According to a report by the Mass Transit Administration, the state initially offered $2.63 million for the railroad while one of the two owners asked $16 million for the line and some property the state did not want.

State transportation officials identified the hard-bargaining owner as Kenneth Pippin, a Linthicum businessman and vocal light-rail booster.

The report describes the $9 million agreement as "fair, consistent with other such acquisitions and far cheaper than any alternative rights of way which might be assembled over this six-mile stretch."

More than 16 miles of the north-south light-rail line are expected to open May 1, 1992, transportation officials have said.

The six miles of B&A Railroad track, which was initially expected to be the first segment of the light-rail line completed, will now probably open several months later, they said.

Eventually, the line is expected to run a total of 27.5 miles between Hunt Valley and Dorsey Road, with spurs linking it with Baltimore-Washington International Airport and Penn Station.

The purchase was scheduled for action at today's meeting of the Board of Public Works, which is composed of the governor, comptroller and treasurer.

Mr. Schurick said the board probably would delay action until the April 24 meeting because Gov. William Donald Schaefer wants to be present for the vote and was not scheduled to attend today's meeting.

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