August 05, 2015
Contact: Christine Scott
240-246-0303

Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 16, 2017 

CONTACT
Ralph Bennett, President, Purple Line NOW, 301-602-6185
Christine Scott, Executive Director, cscott@purplelinenow.com301-500-0756 

Lift the Hold on the Purple Line. It’s About Dang Time.

Silver Spring, MD - A frivolous lawsuit by opponents has kept the Purple Line on hold since August 3rd of 2016, more than half a year ago! In issuing that stay, the Court cited its dissatisfaction with the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) one paragraph answer to its question on the implications of Metrorail’s safety and ridership challenges. Both the FTA and the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) have listened to United States District Court Judge Richard Leon’s concern and thoroughly addressed this question, examining five different ridership scenarios, looking at questions such as ride-hailing services, and presenting ample evidence that the Purple Line fills a dire need for east-west transportation alternatives regardless of the state of Metrorail.

Last fall, the Court acknowledged the principle that decisions on whether more studies are necessary "'requires a high level of technical expertise’ that would benefit from the ‘informed discretion of the responsible federal agencies.”’ The federal and state experts have laid out an open and shut case and the plaintiffs, despite being granted an extension, simply rehashed tired, unsupported, and irrelevant arguments. We commend the court for rejecting the plaintiffs’ further stalling tactics, but all the arguments were submitted by January 13th. We call on the Court to rule as expeditiously as possible, to mitigate the cost of the delay.

The risks of further delay are mounting. The concessionaire and the MTA have worked very hard to bring the project to the very brink of construction. Engineers have advanced designs, teams have been out in the community conducting soil borings, and initial permits are in place pending the restoration of the record of decision.  The upside is that the project could not be more shovel ready and early signs show that it remains on the infrastructure shortlist for the new administration. The downside is that further construction delay may impose significant added costs. This lawsuit is only the latest instance of stalling tactics that have prevented better east-west connections for decades and that may push back the March 2022 start date. The Purple Line will add resilience to Metrorail and bring relief to our region’s workers, students, and shoppers. We call on Judge Leon, for the sake of our community, to allow Maryland to Build the Purple Line, Now!

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Purple Line NOW, a non-profit organization formed in 2002, advocates for the Purple Line on behalf of citizen, business, environmental, civic, minority and labor organizations.  Purple Line NOW's mission is to expand the mobility choices for the residents of the Washington Metropolitan area.  The organization has been instrumental moving the project forward by engaging elected officials and defending the project against detractors.  More than 100 organizations have gone on record in support of the Purple Line through Purple Line NOW! More information can be found at the Purple Line NOW! website:  www.purplelinenow.com.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 22, 2016

CONTACT
Ralph Bennett, President, Purple Line NOW, 301-602-6185
Christine Scott, Executive Director, cscott@purplelinenow.com, 301-500-0756

Purple Line NOW Reacts to Mixed Ruling

Silver Spring, MD - Purple Line NOW is disappointed that Judge Leon has declined to reinstate the Purple Line’s Record of Decision and thus continues to delay groundbreaking. Purple Line NOW President Ralph Bennett notes that “the evidence of Maryland’s need for east-west connections remains overwhelming. It can be seen every day in the form of overcrowded rush hour buses, in Marriott’s new Bethesda-based headquarters, and in the bipartisan support the project continues to enjoy.”

The Purple Line is not a Metrorail project--it is owned by the Maryland Transit Administration and has its own dedicated funding stream and private partner to manage operations and maintenance. Nonetheless, Bennett notes that “the Purple Line will reinforce Metrorail by providing convenient access to tens of thousands of new riders and adding resilience by connecting Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park, and New Carrollton. Our region needs the Purple Line today! Construction cannot start soon enough.”

Purple Line NOW Vice President Greg Sanders said that the mixed ruling has a silver lining for the Purple Line, noting that the organization was gratified that Judge Leon recognized the precedent that these sort of decisions "require a high level of technical expertise" and benefit from "the informed discretion of responsible federal agencies."

Instead of demanding an expensive and time consuming Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), the court has now given the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) a chance to weigh in with more information.  Sanders adds that “while the court did not consider new information as part of its ruling, federal experts have already gathered compelling evidence of the need for the Purple Line regardless of Metrorail’s present challenges.” Lucy Garliauskas, the FTA's Associate Administrator for Planning and Environment, has testified that projected Purple Line ridership numbers, even setting aside Metrorail transfers entirely, “adequately justify the purpose and need of the project.”

Mr. Bennett concludes, “it certainly seems to us that the FTA and Maryland are on firm ground if they choose to appeal the court’s choice to keep the project on hold.”

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Purple Line NOW, a non-profit organization formed in 2002, advocates for the Purple Line on behalf of citizen, business, environmental, civic, minority and labor organizations.  Purple Line NOW's mission is to expand the mobility choices for the residents of the Washington Metropolitan area.  The organization has been instrumental moving the project forward by engaging elected officials and defending the project against detractors.  More than 100 organizations have gone on record in support of the Purple Line through Purple Line NOW! More information can be found at the Purple Line NOW! website: www.purplelinenow.com.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2016

CONTACT
Ralph Bennett, President, Purple Line NOW, 301-602-6185
Christine Scott, Executive Director, cscott@purplelinenow.com, 301-500-0756

Announcing an Innovative Series: Envisioning the Purple Line!
Individual Forums Led by Renowned Transit and Community Leaders

Silver Spring, MD - For over two decades, Purple Line NOW has brought together communities and decision-makers. As the region get closer to putting shovel to dirt, residents, businesses, and stakeholders located near the route of the new transit line are hungry for information about the project.

In response, the organization is announcing that over the next twelve months they will host an informative and innovative series of individual forums led by leading experts in their fields on a variety of topics related to the Purple Line. These events will provide useful information to those impacted by the line and help clarify the status of the project. Ralph Bennett, President of Purple Line NOW and University of Maryland Emeritus Professor, says he is "encouraged by the progress the project is making," but he underscores the need for "increased community involvement and education as the Purple Line becomes reality."

The first forum in the series, entitled Purple Line and a New College Park will be held on Monday, January 25 at the University of Maryland in the Atrium of Stamp Student Union. Panelists will include: Carlo Colella, Vice President for Administration and Finance (University of Maryland); Dannielle Glaros, Prince George's County Councilmember; Eric Olson, Executive Director, College Park City - University Partnership; Maya Spaur, Student Government Association - Sustainability Committee; Randall Toussaint, Economic Development Coordinator for College Park; Andy Fellows, former College Park Mayor; Gerrit Knaap, Executive Director of the Center for Smart Growth Research and Education at the University of Maryland. Other panelists will be added as they confirm.

Each forum in the series is open and free to the public and the media, but seats must be reserved in advance as space is limited. Future events in the series will include topics such as Understanding the Public Private Partnership coming this spring and What Opportunities Will the Purple Line Bring to Our Communities? occurring later in the year. More information can be found at the Purple Line NOW website: www.purplelinenow.com.

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Purple Line NOW, a non-profit organization formed in 2002, advocates for the Purple Line on behalf of citizen, business, environmental, civic, minority and labor organizations.  Purple Line NOW's mission is to expand the mobility choices for the residents of the Washington Metropolitan area.  The organization has been instrumental moving the project forward by engaging elected officials and defending the project against detractors.  More than 100 organizations have gone on record in support of the Purple Line through Purple Line NOW! More information can be found at the Purple Line NOW! website: www.purplelinenow.com.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 25, 2015

CONTACT
Ralph Bennett, President, Purple Line NOW, 301-602-6185
Christine Scott, Executive Director, cscott@purplelinenow.com, 301-500-0756

Transit Community and Business Leaders Applaud Governor Hogan's Decision to Build the Purple Line!

Silver Spring, MD - After decades of hard work by environmental and transit activists and political, community, and business leaders, the Purple Line is poised to break ground within a year. Today, Governor Hogan gave the green light to the project, describing the line as long term investment in Maryland's economic future. Initial details released by Secretary of Transportation, Pete Rahn are promising and we look forward to learning more. While we believe the Purple Line provided superb return on value even as originally proposed, we are eager to work with the Governor, Secretary Rahn, as well as civil servants and elected officials at all levels of government, concessionaires, and communities, to ensure a speedy and quality completion of the project.

This is a great victory for Maryland, Purple Line NOW and its partners, including the Chambers of Commerce from Prince George's and Montgomery Counties, Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Silver Spring, as well as the Washington Board of Trade, labor unions such as ATU Local 689, the Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance, the economic partners of the Purple Line, and our civic and individual supporters who have work so long to see the line built.

We also are eager for details regarding the additional contributions requested from the counties. Montgomery and Prince George's had already committed to hundreds of millions of in-kind and direct support. The Purple Line is vital to the future of both counties and we will work with them and the state. 

Our work does not end when ground is broken and given the changes implemented by the Governor, we intend to redouble our efforts to work with the Maryland Department of Transportation to ensure the project provides a high quality transit line and trail available to the people of Maryland for decades to come.

Advocates with Purple Line NOW, a transit advocacy group established more than 20 years ago to support the building of  the Purple Line, are certainly encouraged that the Governor has heard that evidence, listened to the good advice of his staff, and agreed that, in order to bring more jobs to the region, the Purple Line must be a part of the equation.

"In his well-received inauguration speech, the Governor vowed to improve economic growth for the region," said Ralph Bennett, President of Purple Line NOW, "and today, we offer our help in breaking ground on the project by the end of the year while advocating for quality and careful planning." Bennett went on to say, "all of Maryland can champion the project as a clear harbinger of economic health and prosperity."

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Purple Line NOW, a non-profit organization formed in 2002, advocates for the Purple Line on behalf of citizen, business, environmental, civic, minority and labor organizations.  Purple Line NOW's mission is to expand the mobility choices for the residents of the Washington Metropolitan area.  The organization has been instrumental moving the project forward by engaging elected officials and defending the project against detractors.  More than 100 organizations have gone on record in support of the Purple Line through Purple Line NOW! More information can be found at the Purple Line NOW! website: www.purplelinenow.com.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2015 

CONTACT
Ralph Bennett, President, Purple Line NOW, 301-602-6185
Christine Scott, Executive Director, cscott@purplelinenow.com, 301-500-0756

PURPLE LINE NOW! SENDS BEST WISHES FOR A FULL RECOVERY TO GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN  

Silver Spring, MD--We are shocked and saddened by the news you revealed today. We wish you all the strength, good spirits and good luck as you go forward with what we certainly hope will be successful treatment. And, we wish your family the best as they rally to help you through this experience.

We appreciate the spirit you have brought to the office and look forward to resuming our discussions of important issues for Maryland in the future. Thank you for your candor and your courage. 

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Purple Line NOW, a non-profit organization formed in 2002, advocates for the Purple Line on behalf of citizen, business, environmental, civic, minority and labor organizations.  Purple Line NOW's mission is to expand the mobility choices for the residents of the Washington Metropolitan area.  The organization has been instrumental moving the project forward by engaging elected officials and defending the project against detractors.  More than 100 organizations have gone on record in support of the Purple Line through Purple Line NOW! More information can be found at the Purple Line NOW! website: www.purplelinenow.com.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 2015

CONTACT
Ralph Bennett, President, Purple Line NOW, 301-602-6185
Christine Scott, Executive Director, cscott@purplelinenow.com301-500-0756 

Time is Money, Governor Hogan!

Silver Spring, MD--With the Governor's recent announcement supporting a $10 billion maglev train (a high-speed train that uses magnetic levitation to move vehicles without touching the ground), his nominally cost-based stalling on the far cheaper Purple Line has been thrown into stark relief. Just as the Governor personally witnessed the benefit of long-distance rail while on his recent trip to Japan, Purple Line NOW invites him to come to Montgomery and Prince George's counties to see the Purple Line's potential benefits in person. However, time is of the essence, and further delay of the line will cost our state dearly.

When Governor Hogan took office in January, he instructed his Secretary of Transportation Pete Rahn to carefully evaluate the Purple Line project with an eye to reducing its cost, intimating that his decision would come in mid-May. Events intervened, including unrest in Baltimore, a long awaited meeting with county leaders, and the Governor's Asian trip. We respect that these events deserved the Governor's attention, but we now urge our governor to step up and approve the Purple Line so that the project can move forward and the cost of delays can be minimized.

Delays harm Maryland in a multitude of ways. Primarily, they delay the benefits of the line, most important of which is desperately needed relief from the worst congestion in the nation. Expected population and employment growth means that problem will only get worse over time. The Purple Line is expected to save riders over 28,000 hours daily by 2030.

Secondarily, as the nation slowly recovers from the great recession, the cost of building rises. According to Turner Construction's Building Cost Index, construction costs have been rising at nearly 1.1% per quarter for the last two years. For the Purple Line's remaining cost of under $2.3 billion, a month of delay is worth $8, 300,000! The delay because of the administration's five month study of the project may have cost $41,600,000. And, the likely cost increase for 10 months will be $84,100,000.

These increases are only those related to construction costs. It is clear that the money the private partners will borrow to invest in the project will become more expensive, too - as interest rates are expected to rise.

Purple Line NOW President Ralph Bennett points out, "The Purple Line's critics could be pictured next to the definition of chutzpah. For years they have forced delays on the project and then complain about the resultant rising costs. However, these complaints ignore the even larger price to Maryland: tens of thousands of hours wasted each day in traffic and businesses and millennials moving to Northern Virginia because they see no relief in sight."

Further delay of the project is not cautious - it is reckless. The case for the project has been made in every part of the Maryland suburbs of Washington - elected local, state and national officials, business interests, commuting workers, veterans, and the University of Maryland. Virginia has a head start, the first phase of the Silver Line is complete.

It's time for an affirmative decision and an end to cost increases by delay.

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Purple Line NOW, a non-profit organization formed in 2002, advocates for the Purple Line on behalf of citizen, business, environmental, civic, minority and labor organizations.  Purple Line NOW's mission is to expand the mobility choices for the residents of the Washington Metropolitan area.  The organization has been instrumental moving the project forward by engaging elected officials and defending the project against detractors.  More than 100 organizations have gone on record in support of the Purple Line through Purple Line NOW! More information can be found at the Purple Line NOW! website: www.purplelinenow.com.


For immediate Release
June 2, 2015 

CONTACT
Ralph Bennett, President, Purple Line NOW!, 301-602-6185
Christine Scott, Executive Director, cscott@purplelinenow.com, 301-500-0756

One Graph Explains How the Purple Line's Cost is Misunderstood

Silver Spring, MD--Would you consider 48% off to be a "dramatic" cut in costs? The Governor has cited a figure of $153 million per mile and says that the Purple Line "would have to be dramatically lower than that.” Purple Line NOW Board President Ralph Bennett has news for the Governor, "when the Governor talks about raiding the Purple Line to fund other priorities, he doesn't seem to realize that the vast majority of that money cannot be transferred. But the good news for him is that the remaining cost to Maryland is about half of what he says."

Purple Line NOW Vice President Greg Sanders lays out the numbers by explaining, "How do we get to nearly half? Take the Governor's number and lop off the 40% that is reimbursed by a federal New Starts grant and the private sector contribution. Another 8% can be dropped because that's already been spent on design, engineering, and right of way. In the graph below, every square represents $10 million of spending. In the rightmost column, which has no future cost to Marylanders, there are just under 117 boxes representing $1.17 billion in investment and $0 in net liabilities." 


PLNGREATERGREATERWASHINGTON.ORG

Sanders goes on to say, "it's only that left column, under 23% of the funding, that is available for other state and county projects. Between the county funding and Transportation Secretary Rahn's proposed cuts, the entire remaining upfront cost is likely to be between 10 and 20 percent of the figure the Governor cites."

Mr. Bennett concluded, "Maryland's economic engine is choking on congestion. The Purple Line is the top transportation priority of Montgomery and Prince George's Counties and has broad and deep business community support. The significant federal and concessionaire support shows how the Governor can build it without raising taxes one dime."

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Purple Line NOW, a non-profit organization formed in 2002, advocates for the Purple Line on behalf of citizen, business, environmental, civic, minority and labor organizations. Purple Line NOW's mission is to expand the mobility choices for the residents of the Washington Metropolitan area. The organization has been instrumental moving the project forward by engaging elected officials and defending the project against detractors. More than 100 organizations have gone on record in support of the Purple Line through Purple Line NOW! More information including an in-depth explanation about the above graph can be found at the Purple Line NOW! website: www.purplelinenow.com.


For immediate Release
May 19, 2015 

CONTACT
Ralph Bennett, President, Purple Line NOW!, 301-602-6185
Christine Scott, Executive Director, cscott@purplelinenow.com, 301-500-0756

Governor Hogan's Indecision on the Purple Line Will Cost Marylanders Millions 

Silver Spring, MD--Governor Hogan's mixed messages on the Purple Line undercut his desire to lead a state "that's open for business" as he pronounced in his inauguration speech in November. Last month, his administration challenged the four concessionaires to find cost cuts in the line. They came back with $200 to $300 million in reductions, but instead of acknowledging that good work, the Governor is pretending that $900 million in federal transportation grants could somehow be redirected towards school construction.

Even more disturbing is his confused decision timeline. Last week, the Governor told Senate President Miller that he would make his decision by May 28th, but over the weekend, he quietly announced that he was indefinitely delaying the bidding process. Purple Line NOW President Ralph Bennett finds this unacceptable, "Governor Hogan's indefinite delay in making a decision about the Purple Line, after five months of study, is either muddled governing or deliberate delay to dodge responsibility for killing the project. Neither should be acceptable to Marylanders who expect more of their elected officials."

That is not just our view. Governor Hogan appointee Rahn explained in a radio broadcast in March why indefinite delay is such a problem, "[T]he biggest issue in my mind is how long these [concessionaire] teams are going to continue to work with us, and they've invested millions of dollars in their proposal and we can't drag this out forever."

The Governor has agreed to meet with the County Executives of Montgomery and Prince George's County this week. Miti Figueredo, Vice President of The Chevy Chase Land Company and a Purple Line NOW Board Member, helped organize a pro-Purple Line business coalition known as the Economic Partners of the Purple Line earlier this year. She is hopeful this 11th hour meeting will allow the Governor to better understand that "the Purple Line is good for the economy and delaying the project further will only undermine business confidence in Maryland.”

Despite having delayed the process for five months, Governor Hogan still has not toured the right of way nor spoken to local Chambers of Commerce on the matter. Figueredo added "We appreciate that the Governor is meeting with County Executives Baker and Leggett and hope he will listen to them, as well as to the many business leaders who have advocated loudly and repeatedly for the project."

If the Governor is unwilling to provide solution to a region that has some of the worst congestion in the nation, Maryland has competitors for new businesses and residents. Purple Line Now Vice President Greg Sanders noted that "Virginia has shown that they can come together in a bipartisan manner to build the Silver Line which is already revolutionizing Tyson's Corner. The Purple Line is ready to be built for far less cost to Marylanders than the Governor's advisors have led him to believe." 

The Purple Line will eventually be built because there is no alternative for east-west congestion relief in Maryland's DC suburb. Sanders added  "the question is whether the Governor Hogan can own the greatest capital project this region will see in several generations, or whether he leaves that task to his successor while the state we all love falls behind." 

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Purple Line NOW, a non-profit organization formed in 2002, advocates for the Purple Line on behalf of citizen, business, environmental, civic, minority and labor organizations.  Purple Line NOW's mission is to expand the mobility choices for the residents of the Washington Metropolitan area.  The organization has been instrumental moving the project forward by engaging elected officials and defending the project against detractors.  More than 100 organizations have gone on record in support of the Purple Line through Purple Line NOW! More information about Purple Line NOW! can be found at www.purplelinenow.com.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 16, 2015

CONTACT
Ralph Bennett, President, Purple Line NOW! (301) 602-6185
Christine Scott, Executive Director, cscott@purplelinenow.com, 301-500-0756


An Open Letter to Governor Larry Hogan

Dear Governor Hogan,

We write because we have been unable to meet with you to discuss your upcoming May decision on the Purple Line in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties. It is our intense hope that you will recognize the merits of the project as expressed to you by so many  during the past few months.

We know that you are committed to "create a Maryland that is thriving, growing, innovating and is responsive to the needs of all its citizens" and hope you understand that for Maryland's Washington suburbs, there is no realistic alternative to the Purple Line for achieving that vision.

The project represents the hard work of many people over more than twenty years - visionaries who foresaw the need for an inter-county overlay on the region's existing transit network of  Metrorail, buses and MARC lines.  We need to invigorate this substantial transit investment with mobility alternatives for east-west connectivity beyond the roads that are now some of the most congested in the nation.

You have heard from the legislative delegations of Montgomery and Prince George's Counties and from their County Executives and Councils, all of whom have repeatedly expressed their commitment to the project and the economic benefits it will bring. You have also heard from nine members of Maryland's Congressional delegation, noting among other benefits, the creation of "...6300 regional jobs during the construction period."

You have heard from the business community and the Chambers of Commerce for the localities and the region, noting the critical role the Purple Line will play in forming a healthy economic climate for jobs and development. They wrote as The Economic Partners of the Purple Line, over 30 strong, noting that "...halting this project at the eleventh hour would further undermine business confidence in Maryland -  and we know this is exactly the opposite of your intention." And you have heard from Norman Augustine, the Chair of the Maryland Economic Development and Business Climate Commission, who said that, in dealing with the region's traffic congestion, "The Purple Line would be a significant step forward in relieving that impediment to business, particularly with regard to recruiting."

Finally, you have heard from the American Conservative Center for Public Transportation saying that "...we must emphasize that the ability of light rail to generate quality development well in excess of total project costs has been documented in projects across the country." Likewise, you have heard from the Association of Road and Transportation Builders that completing the Purple Line's Public-Private Partnership will provide confidence for future such projects in Maryland.

We accept your inaugural invitation: "Let us sit down together and come up with bipartisan, common sense solutions to the serious problems that face us." For the prosperity and progress of Maryland and the Washington region, we urge you to consult carefully with your Secretary of Transportation and his expert staff. We are confident that you will understand the consistency of the project with your stated goals for Maryland. We ask that you commit your energy and strong support to the prompt completion of the Purple Line.

Sincerely yours,

Ralph Bennett
Board President, Purple Line NOW
Silver Spring, MD

 

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Purple Line NOW, a non-profit organization formed in 2002, advocates for the Purple Line on behalf of citizen, business, environmental, civic, minority and labor organizations.  Purple Line NOW's mission is to expand the mobility choices for the residents of the Washington Metropolitan area.  The organization has been instrumental moving the project forward by engaging elected officials and defending the project against detractors.  More information about Purple Line NOW! can be found at www.purplelinenow.com.

  • published this page in News/Events 2015-08-05 15:47:19 -0400

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