Bus expansion study fails in House committee

U.S. 1

March 28, 1997|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

A resolution drafted by a Howard County state delegate to study expanding bus service along U.S. 1 in the corridor between Baltimore and Washington failed in a House of Delegates committee last week.

The proposed legislation, by Del. Shane Pendergrass, would have, among other things, analyzed a possible merger between the Connect-A-Ride bus system in Laurel and the Howard Area Transit Service in the Columbia area.

Pendergrass and Robert Levan, an attorney representing Corridor Transportation Corp. (CTC) which manages both systems, expressed disappointment with the vote by the House Commerce and Governmental Matters Committee.

"We still think it's a good idea," Levan said. "The bottom line is, sooner or later there has to be a regional mechanism in place to deal with this area."

Pendergrass, a Democrat, said she would be willing to resubmit the resolution for the 1998 legislative session.

Del. Elizabeth Bobo, a Howard Democrat who co-sponsored the legislation and is a member of the Commerce and Governmental Matters Committee, said the panel decided that the resolution was filed too late -- one day before the House filing deadline -- to allow time for proper review.

CTC officials had said the expansion was necessary to accommodate the burgeoning number of residences and businesses along U.S. 1.

There are thousands of other entry-level warehouse, packing and distribution jobs in that area of Howard County that pay an average of $6 to $8 an hour, often too low to allow workers to afford to live in the county, making many of those workers dependent on an uncoordinated and overburdened public transportation system.

David Zeitchick, president of Crown Manufacturing Inc. in Savage, said he sees "help wanted" signs all over U.S. 1.

"The jobs are here, but there's no way for people who don't have private transportation to get here," Zeitchick said. "I think that's a shame."

Ronald Hendler, chief operating officer of Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup, said the nearest bus stop is three-quarters of a mile from the hospital.

"That makes it more difficult to get employees to the hospital," Hendler said. "I think it's important to continue to take a look at it."

Pub Date: 3/28/97

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