Can Georgia Ave. relax about light rail plan?In response...

Letters

October 18, 1998

Can Georgia Ave. relax about light rail plan?

In response to your Oct. 7 article "Light rail extension killed," I only hope time proves it true.

However, my response to the announcement by Gov. Parris N. Glendening Oct. 2 concerning the selection of the "no-build" alternative for the Glen Burnie extension, is one of deep skepticism.

I am encouraged about how the community of Georgia Avenue has been heard and given time to regroup, although I am still concerned for our neighborhood. I, for one, am not ready to shout "victory" or take down my sign and give up the fight. It is not that simple.

In light of the election, we need to consider the timing of his announcement. If we have learned anything in the past few months with the scandal in the White House, it is to be wary of politically correct and legally accurate statements. I know it has reminded me to weigh politician's words carefully and to read between the lines.

The governor and the Mass Transit Administration have carefully stated their "first priority," and that they will "focus first" on improving light rail by "completing the double tracking."

My obvious first question is, "What is second on the agenda?" And, if we are "completing the double tracking," it would seem to me that it was already "first" on the agenda. How does one "complete" something they haven't already started?

In the announcement, they go on to say that "no alignments are currently under consideration." Yet the governor "spoke of the need to expand our state's transit system" and "emphasized that we must provide the capacity to support extensions and new projects."

My final concern is "future years." The Maryland Department of Transportation and Mass Transit Administration "may revisit the possibility of light rail service in the Baltimore-Annapolis corridor."

I'd bet they will. What then? If federal funds were given to bring the light rail service to Annapolis, how will they expand beyond the current end at Dorsey Road to Annapolis and bypass Glen Burnie? And if the Baltimore-Annapolis Trail is a definite "no," and Eighth Avenue is too expensive, watch out Georgia Avenue.

I will not take down my sign or give up the battle to save our neighborhood until I see a clear statement saying, "No Light Rail Down Georgia Avenue." Does the governor want our continued support and vote? Then it is plain and simple. Say it clearly. Then and only then will I rest easy, with my guard down, and be willing to say "thank you, governor, for saving our neighborhood."

Debbie Pohlen

Glen Burnie In response to Brian Sullam's column of Oct. 11, "Maybe Merlin should run for county executive?": I don't think that even Merlin, Houdini, David Copperfield or Penn and Teller could help public school parents out of the political funding trap in Anne Arundel County.

The property tax cap and a lack of taxpayer support for schools have made education a political football. Although Dan Nataf's survey results indicate that taxpayers identify spending for schools as a high priority, the percentage of taxpayers in the county with children in the public school system is 20 percent to 25 percent, apparently lower than the percentage for other metropolitan jurisdictions. This seems to be the result of a combination of preference for private/parochial schools among affluent families and the increasing appeal of this area to retirees.

Perhaps this is something worthy of further investigation.

Frank L. Wise

Crofton

Vote of support for Magothy greenway

In July and August, the four state legislators representing the 31st District urged Gov. Parris N. Glendening to fund a Magothy River Greenway in Pasadena, utilizing rural legacy and open space program monies to preserve more than 600 acres in the Magothy watershed.

Mr. Glendening embraced the "greenway" idea but cautioned that he would need a formal proposal from the county before he could pledge any state money.

In a letter Aug. 31, Anne Arundel County Executive John G. Gary told the governor that the county is "very supportive of the concept of a Magothy River Greenway." A formal request from the county executive could be made after appraisals of the tracts of land are completed.

Cognizant of the fact that the November election could bring new leadership, I contacted GOP gubernatorial candidates Charles I. Ecker and Ellen R. Sauerbrey and county executive candidates Janet S. Owens and Diane R. Evans before the primary to learn of their positions on this important issue.

Mr. Ecker, Ms. Owens and Ms. Evans all expressed support. Jim Dorman, Ms. Sauerbrey's press secretary and spokesperson, told me that Ms. Sauerbrey was supportive "in principle" and would work with the incumbent executive on this matter.

It is our job to ensure that whoever is holding the reins of power in the State House or the Arundel Center, the District 31 delegation's efforts to preserve the tracts of land necessary to preserve open space in the Magothy Watershed receive a positive response.

Del. John R. Leopold

Pasadena

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