The Red Line and economic inclusion

Posted by Al Hathaway Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Red Line is an outstanding opportunity to move Baltimore City into the 21st century by linking its rapid transit lines with expanding economic opportunity ("Charm City Express," Sept. 16).

Growing up in West Baltimore, I remember the horror of witnessing the displacement caused by State Center, the Inner Block Parks in Harlem Park and I-70, which devastated my neighborhood. Not to mention the poorly designed public housing that transformed the very nature of the community.

Nevertheless, the Red Line offers a sense of optimism that finally the planners are involving local residents and have developed a plan that minimizes displacement and provides a major tool for improving the aesthetic look of our community. It will generate economic investment in neighborhoods that desperately need infusions of private and public funds. It will provide employment, job training, and stable incomes for community residents.

As pastor of a historic church in West Baltimore, I support the Red Line. Our history as a church has been firmly rooted in the Civil Rights Movement, and the future of our ministry lies in advocating for economic rights, livable wages, the right to organize, and the creation of ladders to the middle class.

The Red Line is the right investment at the right time to transform Baltimore City into a metropolitan area that connects to Washington, D.C., but also to other major cities on the East Coast and, through the expansion of Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, around the world.

This is not the time to be parochial in our view of a modern transit system. This is the time to see us as one Baltimore. It is the time to see our city connected with arteries leading both north and south.

The Red Line is a significant and important step towards transforming Baltimore into one of the premier cities in the country.

(Printed on Saturday, September 28,2013 in the Maryland Voices, Op Ed Section)

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