Poor Report On Hearing

Readers write

July 21, 1991

From: Ronald J. Hartman


Mass Transit Administration

Donna Weaver's June 26 article in The Anne Arundel County Sun on the Mass Transit Administration's recent public hearings on transportation improvements in the Baltimore Washington International Airport corridor ("North Countians boo light rail additions") was a poor example of good news reporting. It did notprovide an accurate account of the public hearing.

We heard no one who came to testify "boo" any or the five transportation proposals we presented, as the highly exaggerated headline suggests.

Ms. Weaver entirely missed the reason government agencies hold public hearings on a given subject. This time, we took testimony on a report, an "Alternatives Analysis/Draft Environmental Impact Statement," that we prepared with the federal Urban Mass Transportation Administration onsuggested transportation improvements for the BWI area.

At our two hearings, citizens freely expressed their opinions of our findings and the five proposals we presented. Three of the proposals involve light rail transit.

Ms. Weaver also neglected to fairly report how all of the affected communities feel about our proposals. She concentrated on the comments made by representatives of one or two communities and failed to report the testimony of other communities. She also did not report anything that was said on record by locally elected officials or other government agencies.

Frankly, I thought the evening public hearing especially was a great exchange of very constructive ideas. The local communities did an outstanding job of presenting their viewpoints in a thoroughly professional and thoughtful manner. We learned a lot.

The MTA is now reviewing everyone's testimony, both oral and written, and will announce in several weeks a decision togo to our federal funding agency. We are trying very hard to find a balance between the needs of local communities and the transportationdemands.

In short, I'm very disappointed that Ms. Weaver's story did not accurately reflect what took place at both of the public hearings. A good exchange of ideas occurred at those hearings, and you wouldn't know it by reading Ms. Weaver's piece.

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