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Without New Funding Source, Purple Line, CCT Could Be 'Put On Hold'

Montgomery County officials are blasting a state transportation funding plan that calls for re-allocating money earmarked for the two projects if lawmakers can't drum up more funds.

Members of the Montgomery County Council are urging state transportation officials against delaying funding for the Purple Line and the Corridor Cities Transitway.

Lawmakers in Annapolis are struggling with ways to fund state transportation projects, including the 16-mile Purple Line light rail that would connect Bethesda with New Carrollton and the upcounty bus rapid transit route. Maryland Senate president Thomas V. Mike Miller has proposed a 3 percent gas tax that would raise about $300 million for transportation projects, Patch reported.

But without a funding increase, a state transportation funding plan calls for re-allocating the money earmarked for the two projects and Baltimore’s Red Line within the Maryland Transit Administration’s budget in fiscal 2014, which begins July 1.

“Without a revenue increase in the 2013 legislative session, the project will be put on hold and FY14 funding will be reallocated within MTA's budget,” reads project forms for the CCT, Red Line and Purple Line in MDOT’s FY2013-2018 Consolidated Transportation Program.

County officials took a strong stance against delaying funds for the projects in a letter sent Wednesday to the Maryland Department of Transportation.

“If the Department plans to follow through on this position, then the $41.6 million already programmed in FY14 for design of the Purple Line in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and $17.2 already programmed for preliminary engineering of the Corridor Cities Transitway in upper Montgomery County would disappear entirely, and any progress on these two lines will stop dead in their tracks,” read a letter sent by County Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Dist 1) of Bethesda and County Council President Nancy Navarro (D-Dist. 4) of Silver Spring to MDOT. “After more than a decade of work on these two projects, this is unacceptable.”

MDOT spokeswoman Erin Henson said the state plans to fund the Purple Line through the preliminary engineering phase, expected to wrap up in August, and through the “record of decision” phase of a federal environmental impact statement.

“It’s similar to our highway projects—if we finish one stage and we don’t have the money to move forward, you don’t want to have [the funds] sitting there, you want it on a project that can move forward," Henson said.

The exact amount that may be re-allocated wouldn’t be known until the completion of the preliminary engineering phase, Henson said.

Cyclone February 06, 2013 at 09:08 PM
The purple line will be a game changer and should be built ASAP so that we can start benefitting from it ASAP. The CCT is now nothing but a glorified ride-on route. As long as its a bus route, they should just thrown some painted lanes on existing roads and maybe give the buses the ability have priority at signals and do it on the real cheap. This talk of "Gold Standard" of buses is a joke, a bus is a bus and putting lipstick on a pig is a waste of money. Either find out how to make it light rail, or go back to highways and all that comes with it.
Matt February 06, 2013 at 09:16 PM
The purple line is useless and a total waste of money. The only think it will accomplish is increasing crime in the Bethesda area.
Jim Burnetti February 06, 2013 at 10:57 PM
If you want a Purple Line that reduces congestion and will have enough ridership to pay for itself, run it from Bethesda to Tysons - where the jobs are.
Donna Baron (Scale-it-back.com) February 07, 2013 at 03:56 PM
Maybe MDOT has begun to realize that the current configuration for the CCT is nothing but a boondoggle and a corporate shuttle for Medimmune, Johns Hopkins’ folly on Belward and the hospital. We’ve been told the CCT is not being planned for the commuters in western Montgomery County. And that its purpose is to shuttle the workers down from Frederick County and northward to the so-called “Science City”. Maybe the state is beginning to think these entities can foot the bill for their corporate shuttle instead of asking the residents to pony up. Makes sense to me.
Kathy Jentz February 07, 2013 at 04:08 PM
Jim B - good idea - but let's start with the Bethesda to U of MD segment that is currently approved and then work from there to complete the circle/
Bethesda Guy10 February 07, 2013 at 04:34 PM
Can't wait for all of those trees to come down along the Capital Crescent Trail. It's too cold outside anyway, when's this global warming going to really get going?
Sammi February 07, 2013 at 07:28 PM
I hope and pray that the idiots in charge will lose funding for this atrocity----the purple line. Leave the trail alone so that I and future generations can enjoy a walk in the woods. To take this treasure away is akin to what was going on along the C and O canal before threatening development was stopped dead-----leaving the canal the wonderful retreat it is today.
airtime February 08, 2013 at 01:53 AM
Funny... they found money to add HOT Lanes to I-95 north of Baltimore and if I'm not mistaken widen the Baltimore Beltway in areas. Sounds like this could be a political ploy to get Montgomery County to go along with a .10 increase in the Gas Tax? We paid our fair share into the Maryland Transportation Trust Fund and it was robbed to pay for pet projects. Time to cut those pet projects and put the money back in the bank account it was stolen from.
Frank Slazer February 08, 2013 at 04:19 AM
Speaking of funding shortages - why add a Purple Line to the Metro system when Metro isn't capable of maintaining what it's got? The escalators, elevators, trains and tracks are all being replaced after a couple of decades of deferred maintenance - is there a plan that shows they will be able to keep it going when they finish?
Lezlie Crosswhite February 08, 2013 at 05:43 AM
And remember that the state is strongly considering letting our illustrious Metro run the CCT. The CCT is already poorly conceived -- let's add incompetent WMATA management (using the term loosely) to the mix to make it truly useless!
PansyAston February 09, 2013 at 01:26 AM
AMEN
PansyAston February 09, 2013 at 01:26 AM
amen!
Jersey GIrl February 11, 2013 at 10:12 PM
If Maryland can NOT balance it budget it should NOT spend money that it does NOT have! Once you take away green space it is gone FOREVER! The Capital Crescent Trail is packed with bikes, mothers and children, dog walkers, the elderly.....It is almost too crowded on a nice day! You can NOT relocate a wooded trail!!! If they build the purple line they will cut down trees on either side of the rail line. There will be nothing left! I agree, it will only bring crime to Bethesda. It is a waste of money!!! Business and families moving to VIrginia where the taxes are lower......

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