Thank you to all who were able to attend the Purple Line NOW project update forum on January 18 at Montgomery College with Maryland Secretary of Transportation, Pete Rahn. We hope you enjoyed the evening - we look forward to bringing more events like this to the community through our Envisioning the Purple Line series!
A big thank you to all of our guest speakers - they did an amazing job answering every last question from our audience members and the media. We are grateful for their time and their work to make this project a reality. First and foremost, Pete Rahn, Maryland Secretary of Transportation, Susan Madden,Chief Government Relations Director, Montgomery College, our own Ralph Bennett, President, Purple Line NOW and our amazing panel: Charles Lattuca, Maryland Transit Administration, Executive Director for Transit Development and Delivery, Tim Cupples, Purple Line Implementation Manager, Montgomery County, Vic Weissberg, Senior Projects Coordinator/ Purple Line Project Manager, Prince George’s County (and Purple Line NOW Board Member), and Ashlie T. Bagwell, representing the Purple Line Transit Partners (Concessionaire), Senior Government Relations Associate, Harris Jones & Malone, LLC. A very special thank you to our terrific moderator,Andrew Metcalf, Bethesda Beat Transportation and Government Reporter. You can catch Andrew's insightful reporting on Twitter at @ajwatchmd.
We are thrilled that you can watch the whole event right here: Purple Line NOW January 18 FORUM. We appreciate our volunteer John Wetmore for taping and uploading the forum for us!
The evening was possible because of our sponsors - and we encourage you to thank them for their stewardship and support of Purple Line NOW. It is never too late to become a sponsor of our Envisioning the Purple Line series, so take a moment if you are able, to join these terrific folks by supporting Purple Line NOW. Thank you to Montgomery College for hosting the forum for us and to their wonderful staff to making it such a success.
Secretary Rahn provided a detailed update on where the project stands right now. He expects close to 60K riders a day from the get-go and nearly 75K riders by 2040! The Secretary did address the one-year delay caused by the lawsuit brought by Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail and the two Town of Chevy Chase residents, although he believes the opening will still occur in 2022, which is very good news, indeed. He also noted that there is a second lawsuit looming, with a hearing to be scheduled in the next few months. He does not expect the outcome of that lawsuit to delay construction, however.
The Secretary also highlighted the Community Advisory Teams (CATs). The CAT groups represent eight communities along the Purple Line corridor and comprised of residents, civic associations, and business owners committed to regularly meeting with MTA to discuss issues revolving around construction and other issues in their respective communities while the line is being built. He is especially proud of these teams because, as he said, "it's where we get our feedback and our grade."
Mr. Rahn was asked about the impact of construction on surrounding businesses. He said that MTA is working to minimize the amount of time each respective area is under construction. For our part, Purple Line NOW will be creating a page on our website listing business along the corridor most affected by the construction so that you can make a point to patronize them during this time. That page will be up soon - send along any businesses you think could use a boost from us!
Our moderator Andrew Metcalf opened the panel discussion by asking Chuck Lattuca, Executive Director for Transit Development and Delivery for MTA to give an overview of the first year of construction. He mentioned that any tree cutting should be done by April 1 to accommodate any migratory bird issues. They are putting in 10 miles of new sewer and water, electrical, and internet (some of the current overhead wires will be undergrounded). They are also completing site work grading.
Tim Cupples and Vic Weissberg spoke about their respective communities. Mr. Cupples highlighted that Montgomery County is working on Purple Line related projects, as well including the CCT Green Trail and the new south entrance at the Bethesda Metro. Mr. Weissberg said that the Prince George's County Government is following all of the moving pieces of construction and will be looking for ways to facilitate and interface whenever they can help to help their residents and move the project forward
Ashlie Bagwell, speaking on behalf of the concessionaire (Purple Line Transit Partners) mentioned that the project is at 75% design, meaning that there is not much more room or time for changes as the construction is moving along quickly now to make up for lost time. She encouraged everyone to sign up for construction alerts and notifications at www.purplelinemd.com. There, you will find information on utilities and road closures as well as any important information related to construction. The concessionaire is attending community events and committed to being an active participant with Purple Line related organizations such as Purple Line NOW.
We hope you enjoyed the evening and all the good information that was provided - we look forward to seeing you at future events!