The Baltimore Red Line Title VI Initiative (TSI) was formed by four community economic development activists in reaction to Gov. Larry Hogan’s decision to kill Baltimore’s Red Line light rail project, which was shovel-ready at the time of its cancelation.
The activists submitted an administrative complaint to the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) alleging that the Governor, Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) and the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), as recipients of federal funds for transportation projects, had an obligation under the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to assure that the action did not disproportionately and adversely impact minority and low-income communities on the basis of race, color, or national origin.
The Governor and Secretary abandoned their obligations under the law to all Baltimore residents.
- We challenge the Governor’s claim that the Red Line project was a “boondoggle.”
- We challenge the decision of the Gov. Hogan and Maryland Transportation Secretary Peter Rahn to cancel the Red Line project without “substantial legitimate justification” as required byTitle VI. The Governor and Secretary refused to respond to a PIA request with proof of their analysis of the project’s benefit to Baltimore’s communities or the harm of its cancellation.
- We challenge the decision by the Governor and Secretary to proceed with the cancellation of the Red Line project without consulting with the members and leaders of the communities most directly affected by the project’s termination as required by Title VI.
- We challenge the Governor and Secretary to prove that the cancellation is not another example of the selective, deliberate and unlawful racial discrimination against people of color that characterizes so much of Baltimore’s history (Highway to Nowhere).
- We are mindful that the Governor campaigned for office on a promise to his base constituency (white and rural) to halt the Red Line and instead use the funds to build and repair highways, bridges, and roads elsewhere in the state where the projects yield fewer benefits when compared to the Red Line’s contribution to economic development in the state’s premier urban area – that is also 67% Black and Hispanic.
- We seek assistance from every elected representative, community organization, activist, stakeholder, and faith leader to support our campaign to resume the Red Line project, maintain its budget, and assure its completion.
After participating over a decade in the Red Line’s city, state, and federal planning and approval process, we have every reason to applaud the Red Line’s planned 12,000 construction jobs, reduced commutes to area job hubs, more than $540 million in employment paychecks to members and families of the communities on the Red Line corridor who will work on the project, and the more than $2.5 billion in projected investments around the 19 planned Red Line stations.