Purple Line NOW is dismayed that the opening of the line may be delayed past the updated fall of 2022 estimate. President Ralph Bennett elaborates, “Negotiations are still ongoing between the state and the concessionaire, so we should take all numbers from one side’s reports with a grain of salt. However, as we warned at the time, the root cause is a frivolous lawsuit that put a hold on much of the construction activities for a year and has both schedule and cost implications.” While the already confirmed delay from spring to fall of 2022 is a real loss to citizens eagerly awaiting improved east-west mobility, Bennett noted that we are already seeing some of the benefits of the line. “From Bethesda to New Carrollton, the private sector is pursuing new development that will bring jobs, housing, and amenities to present and future residents of our state. At our forum this evening, we’ll be hearing about the how the Purple Line is already positively transforming the future of College Park and the University of Maryland.”
Vice President Greg Sanders notes that MTA long warned against the costs of the injunction, which as advocates predicted was eventually unanimously overturned on appeal. “The state had warned in legal filing of the compounding costs of a year of lawsuit-induced delays that could exceed $150 million. Even so, the state is correct to demand justification from the concessionaire for any cost increases as the complications introduced by the lawsuit are undeniable, but are not a blanket excuse for any future problems. Our primary concern is not how long it takes to work out responsible and final numbers, but instead that good work continues in the meantime and that both public and private partners work to bring us swiftly and efficiently to opening day.
Purple Line NOW Treasurer Tina Slater noted reasons for optimism on that front. “Construction always involves complications, from noise concerns for the tunnel to the few weeks of delays for the Lyttonsville bridge. Thankfully, we’ve seen concrete signs of project: the December breakthrough of the upper layer of the Plymouth Street tunneling project and just yesterday Lyttonsville Bridge reopened to traffic.” The Purple Line is happening and the private sector is taking notice. Maryland Secretary of Transportation Pete Rahn recently announced “$1.5 [billion] in confirmed residential and commercial projects along the 16.2 mile Purple Line corridor.” Slater pointed to the College Park area in particular, “Great things are in store for our region and we can see that in what’s happening with College Park and the University of Maryland, as our expert panel will be discussing tonight at our forum at City Hall.”