During Thursday's oral hearing on the Purple Line, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon repeatedly made clear that his main objection to the project was the cost to federal taxpayers. Purple Line NOW Vice President Greg Sanders attended the hearing and reacted, “Judge Leon’s actions are the definition of legislating from the bench. The Federal Transit Administration has determined that the fundamentals for the Purple Line are so good that it would be worth building, even in the theoretical extreme of no transfers from Metrorail. The legislative branch has also weighed in - Congress has appropriated $325 million dollars towards the eventual construction. Judge Leon seeks to substitute his judgment for those of transit experts, as well as elected officials from both the federal government and the state of Maryland, despite the fact that this is expressly forbidden by the National Environmental Policy Act.”
Purple Line NOW condemns Judge Leon’s renewed attempts to shut down the Purple Line by delaying a fair hearing for the project. Albert Ferlo, an attorney for the state of Maryland, pointed out that typically when judges are asked to place a hold on their own decision, they summarily deny the hold rather than draw the process out.
Purple Line NOW President Ralph Bennett remarked, “Judge Leon has obviously made up his mind about the Purple Line. This oral hearing and his threat of taking days or weeks to issue a decision, are a return to stalling tactics apparently intended to kill the project.”
Purple Line NOW Treasurer Tina Slater was agog at hearing the Judge Leon's logic, “If the stakes weren’t so high, it would be a joke worthy of Kafka. Judge Leon is using the National Environmental Protection Act to enforce his political view that we’re spending too much on transit. I’m not a lawyer and I don’t know what his stalling tactics will do to the attempt to get the stay, but I do know that the case for overturning his blatant disregard of precedent just got stronger." Slater continued, "Judge Leon may not care about our communities stuck in traffic and lacking a desperately needed east-west option to get to school or jobs, but we intend to keep fighting to connect our communities, which, incidentally, would bring in much more money in economic growth and new revenue than it costs to build the project.”
Purple Line NOW vows to continue its mission of speaking up for the many and diverse communities that would benefit from the Purple Line and educating the public as the fight moves to the appeals court.
Purple Line NOW was in attendance at the hearing and will continue to actively monitor the appeals process. We will send regular updates to you and ask that you follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and keep a keen eye on our website for all breaking news. As always, we run on a bare-bones budget and volunteer elbow-grease from board members and community volunteers alike. Join us, and if you can, consider a donation to Purple Line NOW. We appreciate you more than you know.
Purple Line NOW
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!