BTEC’s first major initiative was to submit a Title VI administrative complaint to the US Department of Transportation on the grounds that the decision to cancel the Red Line violated the federal government’s anti-discrimination laws established by the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
The Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition is a resolute, community-led organization advocating for equitable, reliable transit that improves quality of life and the environment. Our anti-racist work was born out of Governor Hogan’s decision to cancel the Red Line project in 2015. That decision – a quintessential example of structural racism in the region – spurred many of the original Red Line planning committee members to action. Shortly after the governor canceled the project, these members gathered with others in the community to form our coalition.
BTEC’s first major initiative was to submit a Title VI administrative complaint to the US Department of Transportation on the grounds that the decision violated the federal government’s anti-discrimination laws established by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. When that complaint was summarily dismissed by the Trump administration in 2016 (without comment), we continued to seek other avenues to develop equitable transit in the region.
Over the years we have sought to educate the general public about the importance of transit equity. We publish articles routinely in local media. We regularly attend local panel discussions on transportation issues in the region.We also host a speaker series where experts in transportation policy and equity are invited to speak.
We’ve been a critical voice in developing local legislation to improve public transportation in the region. We supported the Transportation Safety and Investment Act, which passed in 2021, despite Governor Hogan’s veto. We also lobby for the Transportation Equity Act of 2022, which, if passed, will require Maryland transportation policy and projects abide by anti-discrimination law.
We have come to understand that the biggest challenge we face in developing equitable transit is our state’s own governance structure.
While transportation systems in most other major cities tend to be run by local or regional governance, in Maryland, the state runs everything and is not required to seek any input from local or regional municipalities.
In an effort to correct this, starting in 2019, BTEC embarked on a ballot initiative to revive the Red Line project through a Baltimore Regional Transportation Authority (BRTA). Our proposed BRTA is a regional governance structure that would allow transit riders to have a say in the transit they use. Over the next 2-3 years, a BRTA commission would work to revive the Red Line project and develop more robust, multi-modal transit in the region.
What We Are Working On
BRTA Now Petition
The Baltimore Transit Equity Coaltion (BTEC) is engaged in a petition campaign to adopt an amendment to the Baltimore City Charter that will allow for the creation of a Baltimore Regional Transportation Authority. Our goal is to collect 20,000 petitions to submit to the Board of Elections in 2024.
build the red line
The Red Line light Rail was an east-west rail line that was under development in Baltimore between 2001 and 2015. It was scheduled to be completed in 2022. The Redline is the most immediate and effective way to improve transportation in the Baltimore region.