Yesterday, the Graduate Student Government joined with the undergraduate SGA in support of the Purple Line in recognition of the enormous benefit the project will bring for students. The GSG’s resolution also recognized that “light rail technology has a strong record of promoting compact, pedestrian-oriented revitalization” and stated the tremendous importance of the project for the East Campus Development. Students organizations are just one of an expanding list of groups that support the project – including the UMD administration, the City of College Park, and the unanimous backing of all Prince George’s and Mongomery County councilmen.
Support for the Purple Line seems to be at an all time high, yet last year’s election frenzy over the project seems to have quickly dissipating among the realities of the state budget. The project (formerly know as the Bi-County Transitway) has an estimated price tag upwards of $1.3 billion. This in the face of of a $0.9 billion state transportation shortfall over the next 5 years and $13.5 billion over the next 20. Not only is the Purple Line competing against several major transportation projects statewide, but federal assistance will be awarded competitively on a nationwide basis. According to acting state Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari, “We have a very ambitious transportation program, and we know, given the current revenues, that we can’t fund it.”
How can such a funding gap be bridged? The Gazzette published some state number crunching that could conceivably make the project a reality.
Note: The picture above is from a real light rail in Shaker Heights, OH. No Purple Line alignment proposes track across the UMD Chapel field nor in any location that will significantly impact exisitng CP neighborhoods. See the CP alignment here.