Baltimore Rolls Out Free, Fully Funded Downtown Bus Service

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon is on her way out of office, thanks to a deal with prosecutors pursuing a corruption case against her, but she's leaving something positive in place for local transit riders.

charmCityCirculator.jpgSheila Dixon, outgoing Baltimore mayor, with a new city bus. (Photo: Baltimore Skyline)

The city's new free bus line, dubbed the Charm City Circulator, started rolling through downtown yesterday after some delays, with plans to add two new lines as soon as this spring.

Baltimore, often viewed as the front lines in U.S. cities' battle with blight, chose to fund its bus with a move that would raise hackles in some of its Eastern seaboard neighbors: an increase in the parking tax.

Could Baltimore's bus rollout, coupled with the change of administration, boost the city's chances of winning federal aid for its proposed Red Line light rail project? Time will tell.