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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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