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Construction Funds Delayed For New Bethesda Metro Entrance

Transit advocates slam the deferral; county officials say the project can't move forward without the Purple Line.

Construction funds for a new south entrance to the Bethesda Metro station were not included in the proposed capital spending plan released Tuesday by County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), the Washington Post's Dr. Gridlock reports and county officials confirm.

Some transit advocates, however, are speaking out against the delay.

About $45 million previously included in the capital budget for the project's construction was pushed out past the proposed six-year budget plan, which looks at capital projects for fiscal years 2013-2018.

The county is committed to the second entrance, according to spokesman Patrick Lacefield, but construction of the project is linked to the Purple Line, an 18-mile light rail planned between Bethesda and New Carrollton. Officials didn't want to tie up capital funds in the proposed six-year plan for the new Metro entrance because it's unclear when the Purple Line will move forward, Lacefield said.

The new to the Metro station would add a total of six high-speed elevators between the street level at Wisconsin Avenue and Elm Street, the Red Line Metro station, and a planned Bethesda station on the Purple Line. Officials have said the design of the new entrance is "inseparable" from the planned light rail.

"If things start to move forward [with the Purple Line] -- and we hope they do -- we can take another look," Lacefield said.

On Tuesday, however, the Action Committee for Transit released a statement slamming the deferral of the construction funds, saying the new entrance is necessary to provide an alternative to the oft-bemoaned Bethesda entrance escalators. The group has pushed for the project to move forward independently of the Purple Line, and

About $5 million in planning and design funds is included in the spending plan for the new entrance, so the project can be "teed up" as plans for the Purple Line gel, according to Lacefield. "We'll be ready for [the Purple Line] when it's ready for us," he said.

A Taxpayer January 19, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Save $1.8 Billion and dump the trolley line, or, let them build it from SIlver Spring to New Carrolton and then decide if it needs to be built from Silver Spring to Bethesda. The second enterance to Bethesda Metro needs to be built with or without the trolley line.
Wayne Phyillaier January 20, 2012 at 12:46 PM
The county bought the right-of-way years ago for transit between Bethesda and Silver Spring. It would only take 8 1/2 minutes to ride the Purple Line from Bethesda to Silver Spring. This will be the fastest and most heavily used part of the Purple Line. It should be built first, not last.

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