Maryland Car Commuting Times Overstated by 50 Percent in Baltimore Sun Letter to the Editor

Bob Bruninga of Glen Burnie (http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-public-transit-20111016,0,615178.story) responded to our op-ed in the Baltimore Sun, “Mass Transit Spending: No Bang for the Buck” (http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-transportation-fund-20111011,0,5410897.story). We have responded to the points Mr. Bruninga raises frequently in other forums.

However, Bruninga makes a material error (not a matter of opinion) in claiming that the average car commute in Maryland is 45 minutes. That is not even close to reality. According to Bureau of the Census data, the average car commute, for example, in the Baltimore metropolitan area was less than 28 minutes in 2007, while the average in the Washington metropolitan area (including portions outside Maryland) was less than 32 minutes (http://www.publicpurpose.com/ut-commute2007.pdf).

Regrettably, much of the blind and expensive devotion to transit is based upon erroneous information such as this. We need policies that result in economic growth and that means policies that minimize work trip travel times. However that is accomplished, whether with highways or transit is irrelevant. The reality, however, is that transit is associated with hugely slower travel times and its substitution for car use can be expected, as a result, to be associated with less favorable economic results.

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