Lawmakers oppose site of transit center BALTIMORE COUNTY

March 13, 1993|By Larry Carson

Towson's state legislators threw their political weight yesterday against state plans to build Towson's long-planned transit center at the confluence of York, Dulaney Valley and Joppa roads.

After meeting with state Mass Transit Administration officials, Republican Del. Martha S. Klima said she felt the project's slate has now been "wiped clean."

But acting Mass Transit Administration Director John A. Agro Jr., disagreed, saying he's thinking of a pause, more like the seventh inning stretch of a baseball game.

The legislators, meeting in Towson Republican Sen. F. Vernon Boozer's office, complained in chorus that they had been excluded from the original decision-making process by former Baltimore County Executive Dennis F. Rasmussen, a Democrat.

"We have just been completely ignored," Senator Boozer complained.

Delegate Gerry L. Brewster, the only Democrat in the group, said he served on the site selection committee Mr. Rasmussen created in 1987, but the executive ignored the committee's choice and picked the site he wanted in January 1989.

Lisa Keir, an aide to Towson County Councilman Douglas B. Riley, R-4th, said that Mr. Riley also opposes the current site and wants the land used to enlarge and improve the intersection. Senator Boozer endorsed that idea, and added one of his own -- a small park.

Roger B. Hayden, the current county executive and a Republican, has expressed support for the proposed site, although county lobbyist Pat Roddy did not offer a strong endorsement yesterday.

He said Mr. Hayden's main goals are keeping the project moving, retaining federal funds and protecting the county's chances for a Towson light rail spur by having a terminal in place.

"We think the Towson Transit Center is the right thing to do for the area," Mr. Agro said, although he said. he would re-examine studies of other sites and talk to Mr. Hayden and the legislators again before deciding how to proceed.

The state has already bought one of five properties on the current site, he said, and is re-appraising the others. All but one of the businesses on the triangular parcel are closed.

Mr. Agro said the state expects to buy all the properties by January 1994 and hopes to award construction contracts for the $4 million project next spring. The center would have lanes for buses, taxis and vans to pick up and discharge passengers in front of a glassed in, 1,000-square-foot passenger waiting area.

The transit center was delayed during the recession but was revived in December. Ron Hartman, the former MTA administrator, was a booster of the current site.

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