Purple Line NOW is disappointed that it was necessary to take this step and hopes that it can be reversed after quick action by the court. This move emphasizes the importance of the appeal filed yesterday by Maryland’s Attorney General. We hope that the courts can act quickly to restore the record of decision and put a swift end to these emergency steps. The fact that this action had to be taken demonstrates the continuing cost of the lawsuit.
Purple Line NOW applauds U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon’s ruling today dismissing the plaintiffs’ environmental claims in the lawsuit against the Purple Line. In ruling against these claims and issuing a final judgment in the case, the court cleared the way for the MTA and FTA to appeal his earlier ruling ordering a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. The appeal now offers a clear path forward and we ask that the state continue funding the Purple Line throughout this process to avoid a costly slow-down.
Earlier this afternoon, Judge Leon issued his ruling on the Purple Line after allowing the project to languish for the past five months. The news keeps the project on hold, but also gives a chance to move forward with what we hope will be a quick appeal.
Purple Line NOW has responded and our official statement is below. Let us say, however, that although we are very disappointed the judge has ignored the credible and expert testimony from the FTA, the fact remains that the Purple Line transit connection has been and will continue to be a survivor. As most of us understand quite well, the need is immediate and growing each day that the project is stalled. Now, more than ever, we need your help.
PURPLE LINE NOW ISSUES STATEMENT ON TODAY'S RULING BY JUDGE LEON
SILVER SPRING, Md. - Purple Line NOW is disappointed by Judge Leon's ruling and calls for a quick appeal. PLN's Board President Ralph Bennett responded, "The slapdash and tardy ruling outright ignores much of the expert testimony that has already answered questions raised again by the Court. Still, we are relieved to finally have a ruling, as Judge Leon has given ample grounds for appeal and we trust that the fundamental strength of the project will be vindicated in higher court."
Our work is far from done. Please help us continue our efforts by making a donation, in any amount, easily and safely at Purple Line NOW. Thank you for your support!
You may have heard the news last week that Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh has filed a request for a Writ of Mandamus with the U.S. Circuit Court at the request of Governor Hogan. The request asks the court to force Judge Richard Leon to render a decision in the ongoing lawsuit challenging the Purple Line’s environmental approval, issued by the Federal Transit Administration in 2014. The Circuit Court has ordered the plaintiffs to respond by May 23. The defendants will then have two days to reply. These tight timelines are necessary because without a clear path forward, Maryland's Secretary of Transportation Pete Rahn has said that he will have to slow down Purple Line spending on June 1st, which considerably raises the risk of cancellation.
The project has been stalled since last August when Judge Leon issued his original order vacating its environmental approval. More than five months have passed since the Federal Transit Administration submitted an updated ridership analysis to the court per the judge’s request, and each month of delay costs the state an additional $13 million.
Despite the delay, Purple Line NOW has been hard at work keeping the project in the public's eye and making sure elected officials are aware of and responding to the costs of the delay. We have just issued a press release applauding the state’s action and joining our voices to demand a decision immediately.
Additionally, on May 2, Congressman Jamie Raskin, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner and Prince George's County Vice Chair Dannielle Glaros, and Dennis Desmond from LIUNA spoke passionately at an early morning press conference hosted by Purple Line NOW demanding a legal decision.
(Photo Credit: Aimee Custus/Coalition for Smarter Growth)
Representatives from the offices of our federal elected officials were also on hand to show their support, including Senators Van Hollen and Cardin and Representatives Delaney and Raskin. Maryland General Assembly Delegates David Moon and Marc Korman, council members from both counties and Takoma Park as well as community groups, organization, labor and businesses attended the event.
Purple Line NOW was proud to organize a strong coalition of organizations who attended to join ranks and make our voices heard. Those organizations included Action Committee for Transit, CASA and the Fair Development Coalition, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Coalition for Smarter Growth, DC Area Ironworkers Movement for Justice, Laborers Local 11, Montgomery, Greater Bethesda and Silver Spring Chambers of Commerce, Purple Line Corridor Coalition, Sierra Club - Maryland Chapter, City of Takoma Park, and Washington Area Bicyclist Association, as well as others. We are grateful for their support and work to make sure the project becomes a reality in the coming months.
(Photo Credit: Prince George's County)
If you weren't able to be with us last week, you can catch some of the event coverage at these outlets: WTOP, WAMU, Washington Post, Bethesda Magazine, Montgomery Sentinel, MCM, ABC News Channel 7 - WJLA, NBC News Channel 4, Fox News Channel 5, CBS Channel 9, Your4State/270 News, citylab, PGCTV, and NTDTV. Some additional photos of the event can be found at these two links, but please give credit if you intend to share: Prince George's County Photographs, Aimee Custus Photographs.
As always, Purple Line NOW exists because of donations from individuals and businesses who support the project. Because of your overwhelming response earlier in the year, we were able to organize this fantastic event to call attention to the delay that is costing all of us time and money while we await Judge Leon's decision. Please help us continue our efforts by making a donation, in any amount, easily and safely at Purple Line NOW. Thank you for your support!