Public transit, not property tax reduction, is the key to Baltimore's future

July 22, 2011

I know a pundit from a think tank often doesn't see things clearly, but I hope that next time Marta Mossburg is in Chicago or New York she notices that both cities have superb public transit compared to Baltimore's Lilliputian system ("Rebuild Baltimore the right way," July 20).

I normally don't have to read Ms. Mossburg's commentary because it's generally a one-note rant about lowering property taxes as the cure for all urban ills.

However, I note that the U.S. cities that purportedly achieved some sort of prosperity after cutting property taxes (namely San Francisco and Boston) also had comprehensive and synergistic public transit systems.

The problem with building start-up public transit in Baltimore is that it requires a 50 percent contribution from the state, as opposed to 20 percent for a useless highway like the Inter-County Connector.

All of New York, Chicago and Boston's public transit is in its second century, while San Francisco's BART was built before this horrendous start-up formula was enacted by the Bush administration in 2001.

The Maryland Public Policy wonks would have a lot more credibility if they made an issue of the money wasted on the Inter-County Connector as a result of this deplorable imbalance.

Paul R. Schlitz Jr., Baltimore

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