Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, has fired Robert Smith, a Democratic appointee, as head of the Maryland Transit Administration. This move is part of a larger effort to restructure MTA in the face of problems of facing the agency:
The agency is a year late in producing a promised plan for improvements to its beleaguered Baltimore bus network, is facing a class-action lawsuit from transit riders with disabilities who use its Mobility service, and hasn’t met a state mandate that it provide 35 percent of its operating budget through fare revenue since 2005.
Ridership across all MTA transit modes — including local buses, light rail and MARC train service — was down in 2014, though it has rebounded some this year.
The Baltimore bus network has been a particular problem. MTA’s inadequate slow motion plan to improve buses is scheduled over 18 years. The Baltimore Sun reports that the Transportation Secretary plans to review the plan.
Smith explained that aging infrastructure is a big part of the challenges that MTA faces:
“It’s an aging system. The Metro itself is 30 years old. The light rail is at mid-life,” he said.