Baltimore, MD (July 6, 2015) – Councilman Eric T. Costello (11th District) today thanked Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for announcing the City has found funding to maintain the Charm City Circulator’s Banner Route and avoid most other proposed cuts to the system. Tonight’s announcement was the culmination of months of efforts and tireless advocacy by Councilman Costello to reverse proposed budget cuts and restore funding to the Circulator System.

The budget approved last month by the City Council included significant reductions to the Circulator system, including the elimination of the Banner Route which provides an important link between the South Baltimore Peninsula and the rest of the City. Many of the cuts had been set to go into effect later this month.

“Ever since these cuts were first proposed, I have been regularly talking with both the Mayor and our City Council’s leadership to find a way to avoid the elimination of the Banner Route,” Councilman Costello said. “I appreciate the commitment shown by Mayor Rawlings-Blake, Council President Bernard C. Jack Young, and Councilwoman Helen Holton for the importance of public transportation, and their willingness to keep working with me to find the right solution for the residents, workers, visitors and employers of the 11th District.”

Mayor Rawlings-Blake praised Councilman Costello for his advocacy on behalf of the Banner Route. “Councilman Costello’s leadership and persistence was integral to ensuring the survival of the Banner Route. He has been a steadfast advocate for his constituents on a number of issues, and his effective advocacy of the Banner Route is just the latest example of that,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said.

Councilman Costello said he appreciates some of the concerns raised by the Administration regarding efficiencies and ridership numbers, and noted that schedule changes made across the Circulator system appear to be responsive to those concerns.

“The Mayor and her administration share the same understanding that the efficiency of the Circulator System needed to be improved, and these modifications will ensure that the City continues its commitment to public transportation while being good stewards of public tax dollars,” Councilman Costello said.

Council President Young also applauded the Mayor. “Restoring the proposed cuts has been a top priority of Councilman Costello and a number of other members of the Council, and I want to thank the Mayor for hearing our concerns and going back to the budget to find the money to deliver for public transportation on behalf of our citizens” Council President Young said.

Councilman Costello said the Banner Route is particularly important for its impact on several critical groups, including:

  • Seniors, many on fixed income, who rely on it to reach essential services, including groceries and the MedStar Health facility on Key Highway. The Banner Route provides a vital link to almost 800 senior housing units (Hanover Square, Christ Church Harbor Apartments, Westminster House);
  • Almost 10,000 current residents living near the Banner Route (with hundreds of residential units in development) who have come to rely on it for commuting and access to other services; and
  • Thousands of employees working at existing businesses and over 350,000-plus square feet of ongoing and planned retail and office development.

The anticipated growth within the South Baltimore Peninsula will only increase demand, Councilman Costello said. The recent announcement by the State about the future of the Red Line only further reinforced the importance of public transportation to the future of our City.