Baltimore City, County agree to contribute funds for Red Line rail project

Project's estimated cost rose from $2.6B to $2.9B

BALTIMORE - Baltimore County balked when it was first asked to chip in $50 million toward the Red Line; a new east-west light rail line that would stretch from Woodlawn to East Baltimore.

Now, it has found a way to contribute the cash.

In a letter to the Maryland Department of Transportation, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz outlines the county's plan to pay the $50 million.

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The county says it will pay the largest chunk, $17 million in fiscal year 2016 and most of those funds will go to stormwater management and water and sewer line relocation related to building the Red Line.

The rest of the payments will be made over the following seven years. Kamenetz also expressed disappointment that the county was asked to contribute so much funds toward the project.

He said he didn't find out until March local governments would be expected to help with funding and that it was not explained during the planning stages of the Red Line.

In turn, Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a letter to the state Department of Transportation that the city, in collaboration the state, has identified $230 million in cash and in-kind contributions to the Red Line project without the city having to impose new taxes on residents and without adversely impacting any of capital programming for infrastructure improvements in Baltimore City neighborhoods.

The total project will cost an estimated $2.9 billion – up from an originally estimated $2.6 billion – and is expected to be completed by 2022.

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