Travel restrictions were lifted in the Baltimore region Tuesday morning after a long-running battle between Maryland’s state and federal governments over how much control Maryland should have over how it manages its public transportation system.
The decision was greeted with some skepticism by residents of the Baltimore area who were eager to get to work on Monday.
But it was also met with enthusiasm from the Baltimore City Council, which in a motion to lift the travel restrictions pushed back against the state’s attempt to regulate public transportation and the region’s own experience with its own version of the same regulations.
“The Baltimore City Transportation Department has been working tirelessly to address the city’s congestion and traffic issues for years,” the motion said.
“While we are pleased to see that the Maryland Department of Transportation has now lifted the travel restriction, we are particularly pleased that our transportation network can now provide a safe, reliable, and reliable transportation option to the public for the first time in over 20 years.
We thank the Maryland State Police for their diligent efforts to combat congestion and maintain safe conditions for Baltimoreians.”
The motion, which also cited Baltimore’s strong economic growth, was supported by Council Member Mike Bost, who is a member of the state legislature.
He said the state was making a good start by lifting the restrictions, which had been in place since the 1970s.
“I think it’s a great step in the right direction,” Bost said.
But he acknowledged that the travel bans would likely continue in some form.
“If I were in charge, I would be very concerned about the lack of consistency with how they’ve implemented it,” he said.
Bost said he was disappointed the Maryland Transportation Authority would not take action to ease the restrictions.
“We would have preferred a more proactive approach by the state, but that hasn’t happened,” he told Ars.
“The MTA has said they’re not going to change any of the restrictions at this time.
I would like to see them take a more active role.”
Bost pointed to the example of the city of Baltimore, which is trying to ease its own traffic congestion by building light rail and bus rapid transit lines.
But the state said it would be unlikely to ease those restrictions, because the state had jurisdiction over the city, and therefore could take legal action to stop them.