Detailed Responses - Maryland State Senate District 18
Do you support the Locally Preferred Alternative selected by Gov. O'Malley for the Purple Line, including an at-grade light rail line with a trail alongside it on the Georgetown Branch right of way between Bethesda and Silver Spring, as well as the at-grade light rail line running along Campus Drive through the University of Maryland?
Kurt S. Osuch (R) The Purple Line is a very expensive, long-term project, for which the state does not have the funds at this time of spiraling deficits. In this regard, I agree with Governor Bob Ehrlich. Based on the experience of WMATA and its failing infrastructure, operating deficit and safety record, building and maintaining a permanent light-rail system at the present time is not the best method to alleviate traffic congestion and speed potential employees and consumers around the area. Before any new ambitious transportation projects are initiated the problem of the exodus of businesses from the State and County must be solved. Dedicated buses, with commercial contracts, green fuels and dedicated lanes/express service can help resolve the problems until the State’s financial house is in order. This solution gives the state time to study and then develop long-term financial plans, to build and sustain a Purple Line. Any legislator who ignores the fact that these are hard times for Marylanders is irresponsible in adding new financial burdens on an already stretched citizenry.
Do you support further study of the Action Committee for Transit's plan for the I-270 Corridor as an alternative to the $4 billion plan to widen I-270?
Kurt S. Osuch (R) I would support further study of the alternative plan that brings Marylanders quickly and efficiently from outside the major urban area to work in the urban area and business districts. Providing efficient, rapid, and cost effective transportation options along the 270 corridor would serve to reduce urbanization, retain urban green-space, and allow growth across counties.
How can we fund WMATA?
Kurt S. Osuch (R) The ultimate goal would be for WMATA to be a self-sustaining transit system of Metro, bus and paratransit components. A top to bottom review of the WMATA organizational structure is called for, to determine where efficiencies could be gained. To that end, ridership must shoulder their share of the burden, with innovative programs designed to accommodate students, the elderly and frequent riders. Fares for one-time or recreational riders may be areas for change. The large Federal workforce, and the tourism industry in Washington DC should contribute proportionately. Contiguous states must contribute their shares, and representational differences ironed-out.
Should any money be spent on increasing highway capacity associated with the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan before a light rail Corridor Cities Transitway from Shady Grove to Clarksburg is fully funded for construction?
Kurt S. Osuch (R) As with the Purple Line – a high-speed, green-fueled bus may serve as the temporary transportation link in this transitway. I would support expansion of the roadways, and support a study for the follow-on option, which may be the best place in the region for a light-rail transitway.