Public Forum #1 (Tuesday, May 4, 2021, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.)

This event featured a panel discussion with transit professionals and experts from organizations from across the nation who discussed their experience and insight into the transit operations, funding and related issues as well as shared their knowledge on issues related to transit governance. The public forum provided attendees an opportunity to hear directly from national practitioners and transit peers to better understand how Baltimore can take lessons learned here and elsewhere to propose changes that better meet the region’s goals.

  • Hear:
    • an overview of the Baltimore Region Transit Governance and Funding Study;  
    • a brief history and explanation of how transit is governed/funded in the Baltimore region; 
    • a summary of the challenges and opportunities; and
    • an overview of next steps. 
  • The Panelists:

David Bragdon​David Bragdon, Executive Director of TransitCenter

Naomi DoernerNaomi Doerner, Director of Equity and Inclusion, Nelson\Nygaard

Headshot of Paul LewisPaul Lewis, Vice President of Policy and Finance, Eno Center for Transportation

Diane Jones AllenDiane Jones Allen, Professor, University of Texas, Arlington


Can't make it to the meeting?  Take our brief survey below...

Question title

What is the most important outcome of this study?

Closed to responses | 30 Responses

Question title

I would pay into a regional transit system, if it means the region can provide more transit service than today

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Question title

What form of transportation do you most often use to get around?

Car or truck
Light rail
Train/commuter rail
Closed to responses | 28 Responses

Question title

How frequently do you use transit options? (e.g. bus, train, rideshare, etc.)

Closed to responses | 32 Responses
History of MDOT MTA and the LOTs System

This is a technical memo, the first in the series, focusing on the history and development of transit services in the Baltimore region. Specifically, this technical memo focuses on the history and development of transit services in the Baltimore region to understand how the existing service network came to be and provides the context for why some regional services are operated by the MDOT MTA and others by Locally Operated Transit Systems (LOTS).

By understanding the historical perspective, we can better understand the transit network, its origins and evolution and its current form.

Read the History of MDOT MTA and the LOTs System 

Review of Current System & Status

This technical memorandum, the second in this series, inventories the existing structures and transit services in the Baltimore region. It describes the organizational and decision-making structure of the agencies responsible for delivering transit services as well as the services operated.

Each section of this technical memo describes the existing structure and services together with implications for regional transit funding and governance. Additional detail on each of the individual systems, summarized into a “service profile” is included as an appendix.

See the Review of Current System & Status

Financial Review

This technical memorandum, the third in a series, leverages the inventory and research carried out in previous tasks to provide a comprehensive financial review of transit systems in the Baltimore region. 

The goal of this technical memorandum is to establish a baseline understanding of transit service operational costs, investment needs, and funding in the Baltimore region, including resources provided through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), and local governments, to establish a foundation for consideration of alternative funding and governance models. The memo compares and contrasts funding in a variety of ways, including by agency (MDOT MTA and Locally Operated Transit Systems), by cost type (operating and capital), by mode, and by jurisdiction, where feasible.

Read the Financial Review

Review of Peer Agencies / Regions

This technical memorandum provides a review of six peer agencies with the goal of establishing a baseline understanding of governance and funding models and compares them to the existing governance structure in use by the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) for the Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA). The results of this review will outline lessons learned and provide potential applications to the Baltimore region. The agencies reviewed are:

  1. Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS);
  2. Metro Transit St. Louis;
  3. Salt Lake City / Utah Transit Authority (UTA);
  4. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA); 
  5. SMART (Southeast Michigan); and
  6. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)

Read the Peer Agencies Review

Review of Transit Funding Measures

This technical memorandum, the fifth in the series, explores potential transit funding measures to understand both the potential to raise additional funding to support transit and how specific transit funding measures may integrate with different governance models. It explores potential new sources of revenue – at the state, region, county, and city level – to support transit services in the Baltimore region. The memo estimates levels of revenue and compares new funding sources in a variety of ways, including appropriateness to support transit, applicability in Maryland and alignment with potential new governance models. The memo is organized in four sections: 

  • Transit Funding in Maryland; 
  • Potential Transit Funding Sources; 
  • Challenges and Opportunities; 
  • Implications for Developing Transit Governance and Funding Alternatives.

Read the Transit Funding Measures Tech Memo

Options for Governance and Funding

This technical memorandum, the sixth in a series, presents the governance models, which include six alternatives. These alternatives are:
  0. Status Quo / Do Nothing
  1. State Transportation Commission
  2. State Transit Commission
  3. Baltimore Advisory Board
  4. Baltimore Transit Commission (BTC)
  5. Baltimore Regional Transit Authority (RTA)
Each model is presented according to a consistent structure that provides:
  • An overview of how the model would be structured
  • A summary of decision-making processes, including participants.
  • Funding models, including potential new funding measures
  • Key issues and benefits associated with the individual model
  • References to where the governance model is used in other communities and regions.
The overview of governance and funding models also includes a “scorecard” that outlines how the governance model advances the goals identified earlier in the study.
Governance refers to the organizational structure and processes of how decisions are made. In the context of public transit, governance refers to how decisions are made with regards todeveloping, managing, and operating a shared public transit network. Decisions made by public transit organizations on investments often span multiple jurisdictions and serve a diverse and broad group of individuals (riders). Funding necessarily is integrated with governance because public transportation systems are subsidized ventures; this means that taxpayers and other partner organizations, together with fare paying riders have a stake in decisions about where, when, and how transit systems are developed. Governance models offer tax-payers and funding partners options for how they participate or are represented in decision-making, in line with their financial contributions. This link between taxation and representation is fundamental to governance structures in the United States. It also means funding models influence governance and how decisions are shared across partners.
In the case of the Baltimore Region, the study set out to identify governance models that offer alternatives to govern regional transit investments. There are three major objectives associated with governance models. The first is increasing regional and local participation in decision-making, especially regarding how transit services are planned, designed, and operated in the Baltimore Region. A second consideration was the potential of a new governance structure to increase investment in public transportation, including through increased regional and local support. The third objective is associated with strengthening the quality of transit services, including coordination between services and between partner jurisdictions. Draft governance and funding models, therefore, consider how decisions would be shared, how changes in decision-making could lead to increased investment in transit and how existing services could be improved. These study objectives are incorporated into an evaluation framework to compare strengths and weaknesses of individual models in this study.

Public and Community Engagement

Public and Community Engagement - There will be stakeholder and community engagement at specific points in the process. 

May 4, 2021 - Virtual Public Forum and Panel

June 29, 2021  - Virtual Town Hall on Draft Report 

Final Report

The final report of the Baltimore Region Transit Governance and Funding study can be found here.