I hope all U.S. citizens vote tomorrow. I recommend Vote411.org as a way to help you get information about your polling place and learn the candidates' stands on the issues.
One race particularly important to me this year is Maryland's gubernatorial election where Lt. Gov. Brown (D) faces off against Larry Hogan (R).
Hogan is explicitly an enemy of the Purple Line:
Hogan says he would put a far greater priority on building and repairing roads than on mass transit. He pledges to block two major light-rail projects: the Purple Line in the Washington suburbs and the Red Line in Baltimore.
Hogan's emphasis on new roads ultimately does not make sense. Vehicle Miles Traveled are down across the country. Infrastructure repair is important and specific projects might be worthwhile, but Hogan is pursuing road building as a culture war issue rather than an governing agenda for Maryland that actually makes sense.
By comparison, the Purple Line and Red Line are near ready for construction start. The economic benefits are immense, especially at a time where the construction market has yet to fully recover and interest rates are low:
- 69,300 daily riders.
- $3 in economic returns anticipated for every $1 invested.
- 17,000 cars off the roads in the Montgomery and Prince George's Counties.
- Completion of the Capital Crescent trail.
- 2,380 to 4,140 new jobs for every $100 million of cost.
The Maryland governor is entirely capable of putting a project like this on hold. For those of you Marylanders will not directly benefit from the transit, this is still an investment in the state's long term future. Much of the funding comes from the federal government, with $800 million in federal matching funds to help build it. The economic activity generated will support the state's tax base and among other things help keep tuition low at Maryland's university system, a particularly remarkable accomplishment of the O'Malley-Brown administration when much of the country was experiencing jumps in public school costs. The Lt. Governor has taken his hits, rightfully, on the healthcare website debut. That ship has been righted, but for those with ongoing concerns about implementation I'd point to his own Lt. Gov. candidate, Howard County's Ken Ulman. As a present resident of Howard, I've got to say I've been consistently impressed by our young executive. I hope he has the chance to serve the state as a whole as well as he's served Howard County.
In closing, I certainly confess to being a partisan Democrat. But I'm also a proud Marylander. I think our state has managed great things in these past eight years, even when the national situation had headwinds against us. I'm asking Marylanders to vote for the Lt. Gov. because he'll build on the successes of the O'Malley administration and not undercut our economic future to fight culture war battles over infrastructure. I know this election can feel like there's not much as stake, but when it comes to the Purple Line, the opposite is true.
Speaking for myself and not my employer. Similarly, I'm not speaking for any non-profits I volunteer for. That said, Kate does back with me!