A lot of separate questions about how to improve transit in this country come down to the same solution -- decide we want to improve mass transit services. Until then, you get things like the state of Maryland's transportation planning over the next five years:

  • $2.17 billion for the Intercounty Connector
  • $74 million for the Purple Line
  • $57 million for the Silver Spring Transit Center
  • $55 million to build the Montrose Parkway
  • $50 million for the Corridor Cities Transitway
  • $18 million to improve MARC tracks
  • $2 million to study extending the Green Line north to BWI Airpoirt

The Intercountry Connector, a large highway, accounts for an order of magnitude more spending than do all the mass transit projects (i.e., everything else except the Montrose Parkway) on that list. Meanwhile, the Purple Line has to be light rail rather than a faster, higher-capacity system because heavy rail is "too expensive." But if Maryland politicians are really concerned about the current gas price situation, they'd drop the ICC and use the savings to fund the Purple Line for the medium term and to improve their bus service for the short term. Good transit projects are expensive, but highways are expensive, too -- we live in a rich country and can afford to build the things we decide it's important to build.

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