O’Malley Pledges to “Advance the Purple Line”

ICC still a priority for the state, but gas tax increases seem likely if transit projects are to go forward:

Transit is necessary to solve traffic woes, O’Malley says, the Gazette

(We’re not sure what this talk of an underground Purple Line is. Either they’re talking about certain segments and the reporter took it out of context or O’Malley doesn’t know what he’s talking about.)

14 thoughts on “O’Malley Pledges to “Advance the Purple Line””

  1. It can’t be underground, then it won’t stop at Chevy Chase Lake and Ben Ross and the Chevy Chase Land Company won’t make their $$$$. Build it as part of the Metro (underground) stop at the NIH/Navy Medical complex (internships for UMD students yo), and go west to Tyson’s Corner. A small deviant segment of the population is pushing this light rail idea that will be obsolete upon completion.

  2. “Small deviant segment of the population”:

    Businesses and Institutions:

    1. American Automobile Association, Mid Atlantic Region*
    2. Atlantech Online*
    3. Baltimore-Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce*
    4. Behnkes Nurseries
    5. Chevy Chase Land Company*
    6. Colonial Parking*
    7. Draiman Properties*
    8. EagleBank*
    9. Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce*
    10. Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce*
    11. Greater Washington Board of Trade*
    12. Gateway Georgia Avenue CDC, Inc.
    13. Greenfields, Inc.*
    14. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County*
    15. Hyatt Regency Bethesda*
    16. Innovative Business Interiors
    17. Landmark Companies*
    18. Maryland’s International Corridor Development Corporation*
    19. McShea & Co.*
    20. Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce*
    21. Phillips International, Inc.*
    22. Prince George’s County Board of Trade*
    23. Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce*
    24. Quantum Companies*
    25. Sandglass, Inc.*
    26. Suburban Hospital
    27. Stonebridge Associates, Inc.*
    28. Takoma/Langley Crossroads Development Auth., Inc. (CDA)*
    29. Teague and Stout, Inc.*
    30. Universal Janitorial*
    31. Washington Adventist Hospital*

    Trade Unions and Labor, Minority or Women’s Advocacy Organizations:

    1. AFL-CIO – Washington DC Metro Council*
    2. UFCW – Local 400*
    3. Amalgamated Transit Union – Local 689*
    4. CASA of Maryland, Inc.*
    5. League of United Latin American Citizens, Montgomery County Chapter
    6. MCGEO UFCW – Local 1994*
    7. NAACP – Montgomery County Chapter*
    8. National Organization of Women, Maryland Chapter*
    9. Progressive Maryland*
    10. Washington DC Building and Construction Trades Council *

    Civic Organizations:

    1. Allied Civic Group*
    2. Action Langley Park*
    3. Calvert Hills Citizens Association* (College Park)
    4. Gateway Coalition* (Silver Spring/D.C.)
    5. Greater Colesville Civic Association
    6. Indian Springs Civic Association*
    7. Kemp Mill Civic Association (Wheaton)
    8. Long Branch Neighborhood Initiative*
    9. Linden Civic Association* (Silver Spring)
    10. Locust Hill Citizens Association (Bethesda)
    11. North College Park Citizens Association (College Park)
    12. North Woodside/Montgomery Hills Civic Association
    13. Northern Chevy Chase Citizens Association
    14. Park View Citizens Association* (Chevy Chase)
    15. Presidents Council of Silver Spring Civic Associations
    16. Rock Creek Coalition*
    17. South Four Corners Citizens Association*
    18. West College Park Citizens Association*
    19. Wheaton Citizens Coalition*
    20. Woodside Civic Association* (Silver Spring)
    21. Woodside Forest Civic Association (Silver Spring)

    Municipalities or Other Government Entities:

    1. City of Bowie
    2. City of College Park
    3. Town of Edmonston
    4. City of Greenbelt
    5. City of Riverdale Park
    6. City of Takoma Park*
    7. Montgomery County Council
    8. Montgomery County Planning Board
    9. Prince George’s County Council
    10. Prince George’s County Executive
    11. Silver Spring Regional Advisory Board
    12. Silver Spring Transportation Management District Advisory Committee

    Transit, Environmental and Planning Advocacy Organizations:

    1. Action Committee for Transit*
    2. American Institute of Architects – Potomac Valley Chapter Smart Growth Committee*
    3. American Planning Association, National Capital Area Chapter
    4. Chesapeake Bay Foundation*
    5. Chesapeake Climate Action Network*
    6. Citizens Against Beltway Expansion*
    7. Citizens Planning Association of Montgomery County*
    8. Clean Energy Partnership*
    9. Clean Water Action*
    10. Coalition for Smarter Growth*
    11. Environment Maryland*
    12. Environmental Defense*
    13. For A Rural Montgomery*
    14. Maryland League of Conservation Voters*
    15. Maryland Public Interest Research Group*
    16. Maryland Transit Coalition
    17. Natural Resources Defense Council
    18. Friends of Maryland*
    19. Prince George’s Advocates for Community-Based Transit
    20. Sierra Club, D.C. Chapter
    21. Sierra Club, Montgomery County Group
    22. Solutions Not Sprawl*
    23. Washington Regional Network for Livable Communities*

    Educational Institutions and Student Organizations:

    1. University Commuters Association of the University of Maryland
    2. Intelligent Transportation Society of Maryland, U.Md. Student Chapter
    3. Rethinkcollegepark.net
    4. Student Government Association of the U. of Md.
    5. Graduate Student Government of the U. of Md.
    6. University of Maryland, College Park
    7. University of Maryland, University College

    Bicycling and Pedestrian Advocacy Organizations:

    1. National Center for Bicycling & Walking*
    2. College Park Area Bicyclists Coalition*
    3. Perils for Pedestrians

    Other Civic Organizations:

    1. League of Women Voters, Montgomery County Chapter*
    2. Voters for a Better Blair*

  3. How many of these organizations mentioned have financial links to the Chevy Chase Land Company. I know ACT is funded by the CCLC. Tell me they are not. Steve Silverman’s campaign which was almost entirely based on building the Purple Line is proof that the Purple Line does not have the broad support of the local population. ACT and the CCLC could not find a way to rig the ballot box so Mr. Purple Line (Steve Silverman) got it handed to him. Think about what is best for the state. What will take the most cars of the road. It is not the light rail version of the Purple Line. Make it part of the Metro running underground have a stop right next to the Student Union or on the lawn in front of Hornbake Library. A stop somewhere smack dab in the center of the UMD campus. Look how much usage the Foggy Bottom/GWU Metro stop gets.

  4. National Center for Bicycling & Walking*

    I am sure they (and 90% of the other groups mentioned) have really looked at the Purple Line project and decided it will be a great use of resources by the State. What did someone call them on the phone and ask them if they are for Light Rail?


    The only really strong proponents of the system (as it stands) are the developers$$$$$ and the perhaps well intentioned far-left, patchouli scented, bolsheviks, who couldn’t design or run a system of any size if their life depended on it.

    Read for some facts on Light Rail


    Heavy Rail+Fast+Buried = High Ridership w/ no community opposition. Built to last.

  5. Actually most of those organizations have passed resolutions in favor of the project. The costs of a heavy rail (underground) metro line is rarely justified by the ridership numbers. That is why virtually none of them are being studied anywhere in the county (including for the Purple Line).

    I’m not sure if your claims of developer $$$ are backed, but I would point out that nearly everything government does is backed by some business interests in some way or another. In this case (if your claims are right) at least those interests are backing a common sense solution to our transportation problems, which will encourage massive future investment in transit oriented development.

  6. The costs I have heard for above ground light rail exceed $1B. If you are going to spend that much you might as well do it right, with a system that can go west from Bethesda or Medical Center on toward Tysons Corner.

    The Medical Center Complex (NIH, Navy Medical, Walter Reed) is going to be a huge employment center for years to come. If you had fast rail running from UMD to Med Ctr. it could offer the opportunity of internships for UMD students in the IT, Business, Health Policy, and Medical Fields. This could open the door for many new and existing federal grants that could go to UMD researchers.

    If you have to take light rail from UMD to Bethesda, transfer to Metro then north to Medical Center, it is going to be a time consuming trip. People will drive if the light rail trip takes too long.

    I think the light rail system will produce a service that is extremely limited and not scalable for future passenger needs. As a Maryland taxpayer I do not want to pay for a system that will be obsolete upon completion.

  7. I’m another one who does not understand light rail support. In what way is a trolley-like train better than a bus? Its electric? It holds a few more people (light refers to capacity)? Is that enough to justify the huge costs? We need grade separation. Those sketches of Euro style trams are never going to happen. The reality is closer to the battering rams that creep around Baltimore with a web of wires overhead. Even ex-metro chief David Gunn supports expansion of the Metro heavy for the economies which come from maintaining like train sets in existing yards. I think the special interests in Silver Spring could care less if the train ever makes it to College Park. That will be the leg which is hardest and most expensive to build. I’m sure the Sierra folks and others would be fine with Heavy rail.

  8. Absoutely no one is talking about heavy rail here. Heavy rail is not being constructed almost anywhere in the country. The light rail technology has come a long way since Baltimore…. If you guys insist on heavy rail get a group of transportation planners, traffic engineers, and transit experts together, go over to MTA, SHA, and the federal department of transportation and show them why the millions of dollars in studies that they have done and are doing are wrong. HEAVY RAIL IS NO BEING STUDIED NOR WOULD IT EVER BE FUNDED.

  9. You are starting to sound a little like George “Stay the Course” Bush. If the plan has become obsolete, and circumstances have changed, revise your thinking. There is no sense in following a bad plan just because “millions of dollars in studies that they have done and are doing are wrong”. This project’s requirements have become way larger than the original Silver Spring to Bethesda single track trolley car system. Light Rail is not scalable enough for the future.

  10. I’ve said this basically every way I know how. You nor I is a traffic engineer or a transit expert. I have enough faith in the process to know that people who spend their careers thinking about these issues are more able to determine whether the Purple Line is “scalable” than a bunch of armchair urban/transportation planners.

    Yes “This project’s requirements have become way larger than the original Silver Spring to Bethesda single track trolley car system. Light Rail is not scalable enough for the future.” That’s why they restarted the entire planning process, renamed it the bi-county transitway, and are pursuing a completely different technology.

    The numbers do not, nor have they ever, supported a heavy rail purple line. That’s why MTA dropped that alternative years ago. They project population growth and ridership as best as humanly possible. They don’t just build it and see what happens and throw up their hands in 2 decades because the thing went obsolete.

  11. Well David it seems you have certainly deferred your argument to the experts and you place all your faith in them beyond question. Is there anything left for you to say here? Let your experts respond. C’mon Mr. Daddio sir, whatever happened to critical thinking? I may not be a transit expert but does that mean I cannot voice an opinion on how my tax dollars are spent? And believe me I pay some dear amounts. It seems that clever guys like Ike Legget still think a Metro type purple line is possible. He would also defer to the experts but I do think he believes in the standard Metro solution. Am I reading his views incorrectly?

  12. I’d much rather defer to those folks than to people like you that have opinions based on hunches and have completely unsubstantiated ideas. I don’t know anything about Ike Legget, but I do know that 1) the Purple Line will not be run by WMATA (therefore you can’t really call it a Metro Line and 2) it is not nor has it been for many years, considered as a heavy rail. When you consider that much of this project will be funded by the feds, it really isn’t costing you that much (unless it is in your backyard perhaps). This is my last comment on this matter.

  13. Dave,

    You seem to think these criticisms of the light rail plan are a personal attack against you. They are not. My point is only that the plan is flawed. The public sector engineers have been given marching orders with constraints and they couldn’t say that the plan is flawed even if they know it to be absolutely true. It is up to the policy makers to make this determination.

    A large segment of the population believes that the Purple Line will be part of the Metro system. They are not being advised on the truth. It will be a stand-alone system with different hardware to purchase and maintain. The developers (Chevy Chase Land Company) and folks who are being funded by the developers (ACT) want to sweep this fact under the rug.

    If you look at the support for this project it is extremely narrow both statewide and even in Montgomery County as evidenced by Steve Silverman’s trouncing in the election for MoCo County Executive. He was Mr. Purple Line and was destroyed in the Democrat vs Democrat runoff.

    I believe you are looking out for the best interest of UMD but not the State of Maryland/US. After you graduate and you start paying substantial amounts in taxes you will look at these large scale projects (that hit every taxpayers pocket)in a much more critical way.

    I have kids that might very well attend UMD. I hope there is mass transit in place to get them to campus. I do not however want to sacrifice the financial health of the state/country on these projects that are badly planned and executed (ie. Iraq)

  14. I appreciate the debate. I still don’t see how you can say how this project has no support, but I’m starting to see that people are mistakingly seeing the purple line as a piece of the metrorail system rather than a standalone (but highly integrated) modern regional transit alternative. Hopefully they will get together a unified fare system.

    1) light rail is much more cost effective than heavy rail and that is why it (along with BRT) are the only alternatives still being considered.
    2) The project will not go forward without reliable state funding which from what I’m reading in the papers might mean higher gas taxes. It’s not going to bankrupt us.

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