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Purple Line Engineering Phase to Begin Immediately

Federal Transit Authority approves request for preliminary phase to begin.

Update 1:35 p.m.

, connecting Prince George's and Montgomery counties is expected to generate more than 27,000 new jobs a year and almost $10 billion in additional federal, state and local revenues, according to a prepared statement from Gov. Martin O'Malley.

Original Post, 1:17 p.m.

The preliminary engineering phase for the Purple Line is set to begin immediately, Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) has confirmed.

The Federal Transit Administration has approved the MTA request to enter the initial phase for the above ground train, planned to run from New Carrollton to Bethesda, and through the University of Maryland campus.

JustABill October 07, 2011 at 06:32 PM
It is amazing to me how quickly this abomination has cleared through all the typical bureaucratic and ecological hurdles considering it took almost 40 years to get the ICC which was much needed, and far less opposed in the 70's when it was initially proposed. There is not one person I know along the proposed path of the Purple Line that is in favor of it being built and only last week there was immense blow back when it was revealed that the MTA plans to put a rail yard and 24 hour maintenance facility in the middle of a the quiet residential area of Montgomery County. I would think that in this tough economy as people are losing their homes and the state is unable to balance the budget without adding and increasing more and more taxes that there just might be a far better use of the money to build this monstrosity. This is just one more of many examples of the arrogance of the Democrats in Annapolis thinking they do not have to listen to the will of the people because they know what is best for us regardless of what We The People say. It's bad enough that O'Malley has robbed from the Transportation Trust Fund and the Bay Restoration Fund to balance the general budget for all his other unnecessary pet projects and entitlement programs but aside from the federal "stimulus" money that is helping to build his Purple Line how do the democrats in Annapolis plan to pay for this? With another $.50 increase to the gas tax or is there another exclusive fund for them to steal from?
Donald James October 07, 2011 at 08:00 PM
I'm along the purple line and Im completely for it as well as many others I know. The ICC was a boondoggle to say the least. Now instead of having the tolls on the ICC high enough to some how recover more of the costs, they're raising tolls on other roads such as the Bay Bridge to pay for it. The money for the ICC should have gone to the Purple line because mass transit moves way more people than a road which will have single riders and increase pollution. I do however agree with you that the Transportation Trust Fund needs to go to transportation instead of filling budget shortfalls. But to be fair, Ehrlich used the to fill budget holes as well.
buckeye October 07, 2011 at 10:02 PM
Obviously you don't know everyone that lives along the proposed purple line because I do live there and I am in favor.
CP Resident October 07, 2011 at 11:11 PM
"mass transit moves way more people than a road" - that's only true if the transit goes where people want it to go! Purple Line is designed to do one thing - transport working-class people who currently take the bus from PG county (where they live) to Montgomery County (where they work.) It won't remove many cars from the road. We have the worst traffic in the nation, not because of a lack of public transit, but because the transit we do have is so poorly designed. Look at Metro, a system designed half a century ago to get people from the suburbs into the District. Now it's overcrowded, overpriced, and it doesn't help people get around the suburbs. We're supposed to trust the same transit "experts" about the Purple Line?
Donald James October 08, 2011 at 12:29 AM
@CP Resident....So basically you're saying we do nothing? The way metro was designed isn't always conducive to how it would be if it were designed today, but imagine if we didn't have it and all those cars were on the road. We need to fill in those blanks of the original design. There are just as many jobs in the suburbs as there are in the city. So the suburbs need to be connected and this is a start. You say transit goes where people want to go and how it will be taking working class people to their jobs....that's the whole point. It takes people where they need to go. There will also be alot of College students who use the system. Building more roads is not an option anymore, we don't have the room.
tanisha October 08, 2011 at 12:56 AM
where is the money$$$$$$$$$$$$$
CP Resident October 08, 2011 at 02:58 AM
My point is that the entire campaign for the Purple Line has been a lie. It will not remove cars from the road, it will just pull people off of buses (and not even all buses, as they will still need to catch a bus to and from the light rail stops.) It will make traffic worse, during construction and afterwards as intersections are blocked by passing trains. It will uglify any neighborhood it passes through with overhead wires. If we're going to build transit, we should build it to meet our needs for many decades to come - this means metro-connected, mostly undergrounded, heavy rail. Doing it on the cheap only means it will cost more in the long run when we have to fix it in 20-40 years.
Ajay Bhatt October 08, 2011 at 03:39 AM
The Purple LIne - $2,000,000,000 (2 Billion) to go 16 miles in 53 minutes (basically 16 miles an hour). Look at google maps - Bethesda to New Carrolton 18 mins - obviously no traffic, but seriously, $2 Billion? How is this thing worth it? (Sounds like arguing for the 1%) Diesel-Hybrid buses cost $500,000 Preliminary Engineering over the next two years is budgeted at $68,000,000 (68 Million) That means we can buy 136 new state of the art buses to solve today's traffic problem! Put an HOV/Bus lane on the MD Beltway! Siemens has a computerized integrated traffic signal system they're using in London - put that in! By the time they get through the NEPA process and then final engineering 5 years from now the total costs will be up to $3,000,000,000 (3 Billion). Today's estimated subsidy (costs over fares collected) is $20,000,000 (20 Million) per year. Do we really need to forgo education and healthcare spend that kind of money to ride this in 2022? We can spend $100 Million today and have an efficient system using existing infrastructure in two years - where are our transit advocates?!
JustABill October 08, 2011 at 10:54 PM
Mr. James you are either misinformed or intentionally misstating the facts. Ehrlich never took money from the Transportation Trust Fund for anything other than what it was designated to be used for but what you may be referring to is that the Democrat led General Assembly raided it to cover their budgets after Ehrlich would not let them pass various tax increases. You also either have not been in Maryland since the ICC was initially set to be constructed in the 70's or you are only aware of the current events involving it but had it not been blocked by misguided environmentalists and built on schedule its price tag would have been in the millions not hundreds of millions and traffic congestion in the area would have been far less of an issue for several decades. The delays only served to cost Marylanders millions and millions of dollars that could have been used to improve or build existing or new transportation projects on pace with the population growth but where is the logic in that right? If people in Montgomery County took the time to look outside of their little liberal bubble and investigate the numerous negative affects the Baltimore light rail has had on both ends of its line with dramatically increased crime and the ultimate demise of one of the Baltimore area's premier shopping malls, Hunt Valley Mall you might have a different opinion on the pros and cons of the Purple Line. Then again if you are in PG County you will not care.
JustABill October 08, 2011 at 11:01 PM
Excellent comments Ajay ... too bad the Democrats leading the state and county governments do not see the logic in such simplistic solutions. Then again why let the facts and common sense get in the way of Social ... ooops I mean Progress.
Pog November 02, 2011 at 06:43 PM
Ajay, you hit the nail on the head. This project is not really about the need for transportation E-W in lower Mont. Co. It is about what will max. the profit of the developers in Bethesda and SS who will be able to build larger office buildings because of the theoretical increase in the ability to bring people in and out! Does anyone really realize that this "Purple Line" does not even connect to the Metro stations? You have to get out and walk several blocks to do that, or take yet another bus! Oh, and the light trains for this need their OWN yard and repair facilities because they are not Metro sized? The whole thing is silly. To do the thing right, just go underground and make it true subway. The cost is not nearly as high as the nay-sayers claim if you hire good tunnel builders (go to Switzerland or Austria!). Otherwise, put in something cheap right now, and once you prove ridership then I will think about whether you really need $3B to solve a theoretical problem! (does anyone remember that the original idea was for a simple San Francisco-style trolley? Slow speed, hop on - hop off running on the old train tracks? Why not run a free tram service during summer months along the lines of what Disney uses on the existing trail to see if there is really any interest first? So many good, cheap ideas are being over-looked in favor of a multi-billion dollar project with no proven value to anyone except the developers...)

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