Closing rail station called 'preposterous'

May 25, 1994|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Sun Staff Writer

State Sen. Michael J. Wagner calls the proposal by some elected officials and Linthicum residents to close the light rail station off Camp Meade Road "preposterous."

Mr. Wagner, a longtime supporter of the 27-mile commuter line between Glen Burnie and Timonium, said he is organizing a neighborhood group to find ways to deal with the crime residents say it has brought into their community.

The group, which will include members of the Linthicum-Shipley Improvement Association and business owners, is to meet at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Michael's Eighth Avenue.

"I hope we can do it in a responsible way, without a lot of emotionalism and without a lot of political overtones," said Mr. Wagner, who was jeered by frustrated residents at a packed Linthicum-Shipley Improvement Association meeting two weeks ago.

The association, which embraced the "walk-on" station a year ago, voted May 11 to press the Mass Transit Administration to close it.

County Sheriff Robert G. Pepersack Sr., one of several Republican elected officials to attend that meeting, agreed with the residents and has asked Gov. William Donald Schaefer to intervene.

In a May 17 letter to the governor, Mr. Pepersack said, "The light rail has become a 'conduit for crime' into our county. Yesterday, Mr. Pepersack, who is running for re-election, said, "These people are living in fear and my job is to prevent that."

The sheriff's official duties consist of courthouse security and the serving of some court documents.

Since May 4, county Police Chief Robert Russell has had additional officers patrolling the Linthicum and Glen Burnie stations. Mr. Wagner, a Ferndale Democrat, said the chief is negotiating with MTA to finance more patrols.

"It's preposterous for a law enforcement officer like the sheriff to say, 'We have a crime problem, let's run away from it,' " Mr. Wagner said. "If the rest of the law enforcement agencies in the state took the same position as the sheriff, we'd be giving away Anne Arundel County to these hoods sooner or later."

Mr. Wagner has helped organize similar groups to deal with concerns with the Baltimore-Washington International Airport and the proposed Laurel stadium.

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