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Advocates Form Coalition To Push For Purple Line Funds

'Get Maryland Moving' is calling on the Maryland General Assembly to fund state transportation projects.

A new coalition is advocating for dollars for state transportation projects, including the planned 16-mile Purple Line light rail that would connect Bethesda with New Carrollton, The Washington Post reports.

Get Maryland Moving, a coalition of groups, including the Montgomery County and Bethesda-Chevy Chase chambers of commerce, Purple Line Now, Action Committee for Transit, and the League of Women Voters of Maryland, is pushing for state legislators to make new revenue for transportation projects a top priority this legislative session, according to the group’s website.

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Dist. 27) of Chesapeake Beach has proposed a 3-cent gas tax that would raise about $300 million for transportation projects, Patch reported.

But without a tax increase to fund the Purple Line, the project—along with Baltimore’s Red Line and the Corridor Cities Transitway through the Interstate 270 corridor—could be put on hold, Maryland transportation officials have said. Montgomery County officials and transportation advocates have argued that deferring the funds in the state's transportation funding plan could stall the projects and make them less competitive for federal dollars.

Get Maryland Moving is encouraging Maryland residents to contact their legislators and sign a petition supporting transportation funding. The petition reads:

“No funding solution this year means that critical capital projects such as the Purple Line, Red Line, and MARC upgrades may be delayed for years or decades. We call on our leaders to take a different path: to invest in our future by securing funding for critical transit projects, road maintenance, and other investments to support smart, sustainable growth for Maryland.”

Bastante February 20, 2013 at 01:12 PM
I'd gladly sign the petition and pay the tax - or even more than the proposed three cents/gallon - IF they would build it right - heavy rail, underground. We have learned NOTHING from underbuilding the Metro system and now we want to repeat the error by underbuilding this Purple Line. Metro is a a real mess that no one can fix because in a stunning show of short-sightedness, they didn't build in a third set of tracks that would allow them to bypass broken-down trains or track work, much less run express trains at rush hour, they overlapped two lines on one set of tracks, and let's not even talk about the escalators and elevators (why, when they spent all that money to put an elevator at Bethesda, didn't they put in TWO elevators? did they really believe that elevators never break down?). Worse is the inability to foresee the need for platform screen doors (suicide/accident prevention barriers) as are used for airport tram systems. But now we do know better, as we have seen many suicides and accidents and will likely see homicides, too. And yet we want to build a system that has no suicide barriers? Above ground, that would be impossible - you can't keep kids and pets off the tracks. Ask Amtrak. It can't be done.
Sammi February 20, 2013 at 03:22 PM
This atrocity (the Purple Line) should never waste taxpayers money. I hope that funding will never become available. To lose the treasure that is the open space of the trail line is absolutely crazy and short-sighted.
A Taxpayer February 20, 2013 at 03:30 PM
The so called Purple Line is nothing more than a gift to the developers who contribute to the politicans that support them. Remember that the "purple Line" campaign was started by an advertising agency who would not disclose the name of their client. So much for grass roots support for this atrocity. If there is so much demand for the trolley line why are the Metro Buses traveling between Silver Spring and Bethesda empty most of the time.
Eric S. February 20, 2013 at 05:17 PM
@A Taxpayer: Because outside of downtown areas, buses are for poor people and trains are classy. So are streetcars and trolleys. That said, I'd find this way more useful than the joke that is the ICC, and if the thing also extended in the other direction to the new silver line, it'd be even better. Now, I do agree that a lot of this is being pushed by the wrong people, and will probably be a disaster, since, well WMATA is involved. If they do it, I'd prefer they do it right.
Jay Levy February 20, 2013 at 05:53 PM
Since the second largest public transit system in the U.S. is beholding to several jurisdictions and must come hat in hand each year to secure necessary funding, is it any wonder that we have the system that we do. Way back when the Metro was first being built, an acquaintance of mine said his father, an expert engineer in the field of elevators and escalators, told the planners that covered escalators were a necessity, given DC weather conditions. Of course, his advice was ignored, no doubt because covering the escalators would increase costs. Nowadays, as fares go up, ridership goes down. I've been in Europe where governments actually subsidize public transit to the extent that some urban systems are free. Of course, to do that here would be.....shudder... socialism.
Eric S. February 20, 2013 at 06:45 PM
@Jay Levy: THIS! I don't understand why subsidized public transit is the devil, while it's totally ok to subsidize the crap out of roads. A good part of why WMATA is so goofed up is because they need to be top-loaded with people who can beg for money every year.
Norman February 20, 2013 at 07:26 PM
Buses empty most of the time? The ones I see as I drive between SS and Bethesda every day are packed...but they're sitting in traffic right along side me so I might as well drive myself.
Bastante February 20, 2013 at 09:48 PM
Chevy Chase Land Company.
Bastante February 20, 2013 at 09:50 PM
NOT SO! The D5 goes through the western Bethesda suburbs into Georgetown (not sure where it goes from there) and it is widely used by the khaki-and-polo-shirt crowd. I see plenty of people at the D5 stops every morning and evening. Similarly, the Ride-on that goes to Friendship Heights.

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