Posts about Bob Ehrlich
Sometimes politicians delay otherwise popular projects they don't support by insisting on more studies before work can begin. In DC, less than one mile of bike lanes were added in 2011. Is this a sign of tepid support for bike lanes from Mayor Gray or other top officials?
Former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich used a "paralysis by analysis" strategy to stall the Purple Line. To say the Purple Line went nowhere under his leadership would be an understatement. But it was studied a lot. Ehrlich added new routing options, new modes, new timelines... anything to keep it on paper but not moving forward.
Meanwhile, he fast-tracked the ICC through the planning process in record time.
It's a great solution for politicians. You're not actually canceling anything and risking re-election. You're just waiting for more information to come in, so you can make an informed decision. Who could possibly be against that?
Bike lane striping under the Gray administration has ground to a halt. Almost none of the promised 2011 additions to the bike network were delivered. And while DDOT promises to stripe new bike lanes as soon as the weather warms up, they are clearly falling behind.
Meanwhile, the most significant proposed bike projects, the L and M Street cycle tracks, remain mired in study. DDOT has said it won't commit to building them until it has completed a study of the existing 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue cycle tracks. That's a little odd, because DDOT already completed a similar study in 2010. Why do we need another one to tell us the same thing? And how long is this study supposed to take? It's already been six months.
No doubt Mayor Gray hears a lot about bike lanes. It must seem that half of his constituents want more of them, and the other half don't want them at all. Putting off the decision in order to avoid upsetting anyone must be a tempting solution. It's hard to know for sure, but the longer these studies drag on, the more likely this possibility seems.
But the delay-by-study strategy can only work for so long. Ultimately voters in Maryland saw through Ehrlich's Purple Line scheme, and it contributed to his defeat by Martin O'Malley.
When Gray was elected I said we should give him a chance to prove that he really will continue urbanist policies. After one year, the jury is still out. It is still too early to judge him. It is still too early to conclude that he is trying to study the cycle tracks out of existence. But if he hasn't decided to build them in another six months or so
Because of his firm stances on major issues that will shape Maryland's future, Greater Greater Washington is happy to endorse Governor Martin O'Malley for a second term.
The 2010 Maryland gubernatorial election is different from most elections where an incumbent with a voting record is opposing a challenger who only has promises and ideas. Bob Ehrlich, the challenger, served as governor between 2003 and 2007. He has a clear record and it is very different than Governor O'Malley's.
Governor O'Malley has consistently demonstrated a commitment to smart growth and preserving Maryland's premier K-12 and higher education systems. He has pushed the Purple Line and Baltimore Red Line while Mr. Ehrlich wants to kill both projects and expand roads instead. Governor O'Malley has maintained funding for Maryland's universities while Mr. Ehrlich cut them and would cut education aid to counties with high costs of living.
Governor O'Malley has been a consistent champion of the Purple Line and the Baltimore Red Line. Both projects would provide acres and acres of smart-growth formatted economic development opportunities. Those opportunities will include places that are currently economically vibrant and ones that are desperately in need of new investment.
Governor O'Malley has consistently budgeted funding for planning and engineering both the Purple and Red Lines throughout his first term. During Mr. Ehrlich's time serving as governor, he pursued a strategy to obfuscate, alter, study and delay the Purple Line.
During the current 2010 election, Mr. Ehrlich has gone on record opposing the Purple Line. During debates in Baltimore, he expressed similar opposition to the Baltimore Red Line.
Finally, Mr. Ehrlich was a huge proponent of the ICC. Little good will come out of this project, except the unintended sticker shock that is leading to Marylanders realizing the actual costs of expensive new highways.
Unfortunately, Governor O'Malley did nothing to halt its construction early in his term. The political will was not there at the local level. The newly-inaugurated governor could have spent enormous political capital trying to kill the highway and still could have been unsuccessful. Mr. O'Malley instead used his political capital to move the Purple and Red Lines forward. In an ideal world, the ICC would have been halted and the Purple and Red Lines would have already broken ground using its funds. However, given the world as it existed in 2007, Governor O'Malley made a pragmatic and reasonable decision.
The two candidates' records on education could also not be more different. Mr. Ehrlich has a record of defunding both K-12 and higher education in Maryland while Mr. O'Malley has made good on his promise to maintain Maryland colleges' affordability.
I feel very lucky that I graduated from the University of Maryland in May 2003. During the Fall 2003 semester, students experienced a tuition increase of thousands of dollars per semester. Fellow GGW contributor Matt Johnson had to pay many thousands of dollars more in tuition to attend the same university as I did because he was unlucky enough that his birth year put his college years during the Ehrlich Administration. The tuition increase was a direct result of then-Governor Ehrlich cutting the budget for the University System of Maryland. One of Mr. O'Malley's central campaign promises in the 2006 campaign was to properly fund higher education and freeze tuition during his service. Governor O'Malley has kept his campaign pledge.
According to the Gazette, Mr. Ehrlich proposed eliminating the Geographic Cost of Education Index, a $126 million fund that provides K-12 funding aid for areas with high costs of living, such as Montgomery and Prince George's counties and Baltimore city. The change would cost Montgomery County alone $31 million in education funding.
Differences on transportation and education alone show very large differences in judgment and pragmatism between the candidates. Greater Greater Washington proudly endorses Governor O'Malley for a second term as governor of Maryland.
In today's must-read, Michael Dresser takes a look at how the Maryland gubernatorial candidates differ on transportation issues.
Ehrlich wants to undo O'Malley's decision to move forward with light rail on the Red and Purple lines and go with buses instead. Ehrlich campaigns on strengthening MARC service, while O'Malley has funded it at a higher level than Ehrlich did when he was in office.
O'Malley would allocate about
50% 33% of transportation money on transit, while Ehrlich would spend 28% 22%. And though both oppose increases to the state gas tax, which has stayed flat since the early 1990's, O'Malley supports indexing it to inflation.
The Greater Washington Board of Trade also endorsed O'Malley after supporting Ehrlich in the last two elections. They cited the Purple Line as a major reason. The Greater Baltimore Committee, Baltimore's equivalent business association, doesn't endorse candidates, but is very supportive of the Red Line.
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- Metro policy for refunds after delays falls short, riders say
- PG planners propose bold new smart growth future
- Prince George's County struggles to get trails right
- M Street cycle track keeps improving, draws church anger