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May 2013:

Letter from the Publisher

May 6, 2013

Posted in: News

And Now … The Rest of the Story

The Business Monthly has been oddly quiet for a long time about what normally we would have been one of the first to cover — Howard County’s new transportation department and its plans for the Regional Transit Agency. So finally, this month we have given you an in-depth article. We even did something we rarely do — assigned our editor-in-chief and senior writer to cover a story.

We did that partially because there is a back story that no other publication has covered. But also, because I needed to first resign from the Central Maryland Regional Transit (CMRT) board so there could be no question of biased reporting. I even said to my reporters, “I am not a source; go talk to all parties involved to get the full story.”

I have been very passionate during the past nine years, including four of which when I was board president (including two when John Powell was the CEO), about regional transit. I have been a very strong advocate of a system that can cross county boundries and be effective in our very congested Corridor. I was on the committee to bring legislation forth to form a regional transit agency. I met with our legislators, and I testified in Annapolis.

But last month, I stepped down from a board position because, with The Business Monthly covering the regional transportation issue this month, I felt it would be a conflict of interest if I did not.

Personally, I am sorry that the three studies that were contracted by the state, Howard County and Anne Arundel County were done by the same company — which, I said at the time, was a conflict of interest, in my opinion.

I thank Mark Smith, our editor-in-chief; and George Berkheimer, our senior writer, for interviewing a number of people to get the story and the facts — The Business Monthly’s history would permit no less.

But, with all that said, I hope the concept works and a regional agency is legislated. That has been my goal for the past nine years. I believe that is the only way that the five or six municipalities in this area will be able to create and sustain effective and efficient transit (note that I said transit, which is much more affordable than creating subways). I believe that we all would consider using buses if they were convenient and ran often enough that it was not a hardship for business professionals to get about.

I believe that if people who sit in their cars in stop-and-go traffic on Route 29, Route 32 or I-95 saw a bus with wi-fi whiz by, mass transit would look more enticing.

Perhaps, some day. For now, that’s a lofty goal.

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