Monday, September 24, 2007


I read the story in The Capital yesterday about a 42-page feasibility study that was given to the Governor by a committee of people who studied the viability of passenger ferries as a way to alleviate traffic woes locally.

The group suggested a trial period for the ferries to see how the private market responds to ferry service. If successful, the ferries could be implemented permanently.

But even by the committee's own admission, this is not much of a solution:

Passenger ferries will not address the need for moving large numbers of automobiles or trucks across or up and down the bay but can be used on the margins of the problem.

My question is this: the trial period is set to cost almost $2 million. If it is deemed successful, we can expect to continue to pay multiple millions of dollars for this service. Should we be spending this money on the margins of the problem?

Less importantly, the committee engaged in one of my most hated pet peeves:

The citizen-drafted plans suggests future avenues of discussion, including a collaboration with Virginia.

Any committee that recommends forming another committee, task force, or feasibility study should be penalized 1000 awesome points*, because what were they doing there in the first place? Does anyone not know that we should keep talking about issues to see if we can do something better? And how many meetings did it take to realize that Maryland and its neighboring states share vested interests in common waterways?

(*The awesomeness point scale goes up to 10,000, and the full 10,000 points have only been achieved by one person, this guy, who cut off his own arm after being trapped by a boulder--and survived. That is freekin' super-awesome--that he could do that, not that he lost his arm.)

Maybe it's just me, but it just seems like a big waste of time for a committee to recommend forming another committee.

Anyway, one guy who was part of the committee had his name removed from the report, citing its failure to explore vehicle ferries. He went on to say that passenger ferries are one of the least viable solutions to the traffic problem.

Let's see what the governor thinks.

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