Purple Line NOW Update and News

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.

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(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.

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(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: WTOPWAMUWashington PostBethesda Magazine, Montgomery Sentinel, MCMABC News Channel 7 - WJLANBC News Channel 4, Fox News Channel 5, CBS Channel 9, Your4State/270 News, citylabPGCTV, 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 PhotographsAimee Custus Photographs.

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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!


Congressman Jamie Raskin Joins Broad Coalition to Demand Legal Decision and Federal Funding

Purple Line NOW will hold a press conference in collaboration with a strong coalition of organizations and businesses including 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 on Tuesday, May 2, 8:30 a.m. in the passageway of the future Purple Line in front of the Silver Spring Library.

The half-hour press conference will feature Congressman Jamie Raskin, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner, Prince George's County Council Chairman Derrick Davis, state and congressional representatives, Union members and others. A full list of program speakers will be available the morning of the conference. Elected officials, community groups, unions, and businesses have confirmed attendance. If you have questions or are a member of the media and would like to schedule an interview with organization leadership in advance of or following the conference, please contact Christine Scott at cscott@purplelinenow.com.


Purple Line NOW Press Conference MAY 2 at 8:30 a.m.

Please join Purple Line NOW for a press conference in collaboration with a strong a coalition of organizations and businesses including 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, City of Takoma Park, and Washington Area Bicyclist Association on Tuesday, May 2, 8:30 a.m. in the future passageway for the Purple Line in front of the Silver Spring Library.

The half-hour press conference will feature county officials including both the Montgomery and Prince George's County Executives, county council leadership, and congressional and state representatives and others. A full list of program speakers will be available before the event. Elected officials, community groups, unions, and businesses are expected to attend. If you have questions or are a member of the press and would like to schedule an interview with organization leadership following the conference, please contact Christine Scott at cscott@purplelinenow.com.


Coalition of 45 Business Leaders Asks Secretary Chao to Fund Purple Line

A coalition of 45 business leaders wrote to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao last week, urging her to finalize the Purple Line’s $900 million New Starts grant as soon as the project’s Record of Decision is reinstated by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon.

The letter was signed by developers with projects in both Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, including JBG, the Bozzuto Group, Federal Realty, Carr Properties, and Urban Atlantic. Marriott International, which recently announced the relocation of its headquarters to a new 700,000 square foot “urban campus” in downtown Bethesda, also signed on. In addition, business organizations like the Greater Washington Board of Trade and the Montgomery and Prince George’s Chambers of Commerce, representing hundreds of businesses and employers in the region, lent their names to this effort.

The letter points out that the Purple Line is a privately-financed, shovel-ready infrastructure project that will create thousands of jobs. In addition, it is only the second public-private transit project in the United States and its cancellation “would have a powerful negative impact on the ability to attract future private infrastructure investment.”

Purple Line Now President Ralph Bennett applauds the development and business community for speaking up for this project, which has been decades in the making. “The people of Maryland have waited far too long for the Purple Line to be built, and construction would have finally begun months ago were it not for a frivolous lawsuit filed by a group of Chevy Chase opponents who misuse the legal system to advance their own narrow self interest.” Bennett adds that “businesses know that the Purple Line is an investment in our region’s future that will pay off many times over in increased incomes, property values, and quality of life.”

The Purple Line was scheduled to begin construction in the fall of 2016, but was delayed by Judge Leon days before the Federal Transit Administration was scheduled to sign a $900 million grant for the project. The MTA and its private partner, the Purple Line Transit Partners, have been continuing work on right-of-way acquisition, design, and pre-construction surveys. However, before construction can begin, the judge must rule on an updated ridership analysis submitted in December at his request and then the FTA must sign the Full Funding Grant Agreement.



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