In the latest report card by the American Society of Civil Engineers, released in March, Maryland received an embarrassing grade of D+ for its transit system. Since then, the Covid-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated the Maryland Transit Administration’s budget problem, and the ongoing Purple Line fiasco have continued to highlight Maryland’s history of transit woes.
Currently, the future of the $5.6 billion Purple Line project remains unclear as its transit partner threatens to walk away from the project due to extensive delays and cost overruns. The Purple Line epitomizes Maryland’s tradition of pursuing a politically appealing transportation project at the expense of maintaining and upgrading its existing transit infrastructure.
Even before the pandemic started, the MTA faced a $2 billion budget shortfall over the next decade because the cost of upgrading its outdated infrastructure has accumulated to $5.7 billion. Declining ridership and fare revenue over the years has not helped the administration’s ensuing financial woes.