Happy New Year!
In today's edition of Purple Line NOW News, here's what you'll find:
- What's Happening at PLN?
- Thank you!
- The TOP TEN LIST is HERE!
- Purple Line in the News
- Happening Along the Purple Line Corridor
- Community Advisory Team Meetings Set for February
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WHAT'S HAPPENING AT PLN?
A quick update to thank everyone who took a moment to send a donation during our matching campaign which has now ended. As you know, a generous donor (who wishes to remain anonymous) offered to match all donations from non-PLN board members until we reached $5,000 or until the end of the year!
Because we operate year round and our budget is tiny, even though the matching campaign has ended, if you have not had a chance to make a donation or renew one from last year, we would be grateful for your consideration. You can click the PURPLE button below to easily make an online donation.
We will have a full report of where we are on our fundraising efforts in the next newsletter. Don't forget, unless a donor wishes to remain anonymous, all our donors are listed on our website. We are grateful for all the support we receive, financial and otherwise.
The Top Ten List is HERE!
Each new year, our Purple Line NOW team gets together to come up with the top ten biggest Purple Line happenings of the past year. Here is our list for 2022, a year of progress after a long period of delays and frustration. Do you agree with our list?!
10) Housing at Chevy Chase Library Site -- The Montgomery County Council voted unanimously for an amendment calling for housing at the redesigned Chevy Chase Library, which happens to be very close to the new Purple Line station. According to an article in Bethesda Magazine, while the bill doesn’t guarantee housing at the site, it does “allow for the possibility of redevelopment of the Chevy Chase library, including housing on the site.” How many units might be included or under what price points the housing will fall has yet to be determined. (Bohnel, S., “County Council says it supports housing at Chevy Chase Library site.” Bethesda Magazine, 12 May 2022.)
9) Report on The Purple Line Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Strategy -- The Purple Line Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Strategy is the product of a two-year planning process funded by a transit-oriented development planning grant from the Federal Transit Administration. The report includes strategies for affordable housing, small business preservation, safe pedestrian/bicycle access to stations, and inclusive economic growth. On September 28th, 2022 the final report was released at a public event at the Brigadier General Charles E. McGee Library in downtown Silver Spring.
8) Maryland Secretary of Transportation Greg Slater Leaves Post -- In January, we said goodbye to Greg Slater and hello to our new Secretary of Transportation, James F. Ports, Jr. We are grateful for Secretary Slater’s steady hand during a tumultuous time for the Purple Line project. His hard work and public dedication helped steer the team through the loss of the previous builder and ultimately naming the new builder. Many of you may remember his willingness to show up when asked to answer tough questions, as he did for our forum last year.
7) Sleaford Tunnel Opens -- October brought treats in the form of the opening of the Sleaford Road underpass and pathway opening to the public. This is a popular bicycle and ped route for people in the neighborhood to access nearby Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.
6) New Builder Sets Tentative Opening Date -- In January of 2022, with the signing of the new builder came a newly projected opening date of Fall 2026. With construction finally resuming, the target date was welcome news.
5) Labor Organization and Concessionaire reach settlement – Early this fall, the contractor and the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) reached an agreement, paving the way for crews to ramp up construction between now and the end of October. We were happy that both parties were able to negotiate a reasonable outcome so the project could move forward.
4) Approval by Board of Public Works and Reaching Financial Close with New Builder -- The final piece to officially approve the new builder -- after all the interviews, meet and greets, discovery, and research -- was gaining the approval of the Board of Public Works which happened in January 2022. In July, it was announced that financial close was reached with the new builder, the last bit in the long process of bringing on board the new entity, Maryland Transit Solutions.
3) Maryland Wins Grant for Development Near Purple Line -- Maryland was awarded a $1.5 million federal grant for development in and around the Purple Line corridor. According to the Washington Post, "The money from the Federal Transit Administration is to be used to plan for mixed-use development, the preservation of existing retail, affordable housing and access for cyclists and pedestrians along the 16-mile line that will connect Montgomery and Prince George’s counties."
2) Approval for $1.7 billion TIFIA Loan -- In March, Maryland’s 16.2-mile Purple Line project was approved for a $1.7 billion Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan through the Build America Bureau. The project had previously been approved for a $874.6 million TIFIA loan in 2016; this loan replaces and restructures the previous loan.
1) Major construction resumes -- All the top stories that made our list were impactful to the future of the project, but none more so than when construction finally resumed earlier last fall along the corridor after a long two-year slow-down. Nothing beats seeing crews out along the future path of the light rail!
In reality, many of these happenings were interlocking, making it difficult to rank impact or importance. And, because it is a Top Ten List, we had to focus with so many stories from which to choose!
For example, we were delighted to read the support Maryland's newly elected governor, Wes Moore, has for the possibility of a future Red Line in Baltimore. Perhaps a ground-breaking for a future Red Line will make the Top Ten list one day soon! And, who could forget the Purple Line making an appearance on Google Maps?! Perhaps we'll save some of the others for an "Honorable Mentions" edition of the Purple Line NOW News.
Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the parting of some long-time Purple Line advocates. NCSG Director Dr. Gerrit Knaap announced his official retirement at a December celebration hosted by the Purple Line Corridor Coalition. Montgomery Councilmember Hans Reimer and Prince George's Councilmember Dannielle Glaros, whose advocacy helped to steer the project through some tough times during their tenure on their respective councils, will be sorely missed. We also want to remember three dedicated supporters of the project who passed away in 2022, notably Linda Anderson, Tawanna Gaines, and Neil Greene. They are missed by all of us here at Purple Line NOW.
And with that, we wrap up 2022 and look forward to a new year fill with progress and potential as we move closer to opening day. Thank you again for all you do for our community. Happy New Year!
HAPPENING ALONG THE PURPLE LINE CORRIDOR
Community Advisory Team Meetings Set for February
The Community Advisory Team Meetings (CATs) have been rescheduled for February. You can find more information on the MDOT MTA website closer to each meeting.
February 2, University Boulevard, 6 pm
February 7, Bethesda/Chevy Chase, 6 pm
February 9, Silver Spring, 6 pm
February 16, College Park, 6 pm
February 21, Long Branch, 6 pm
February 23, Riverdale Park - Glenridge/New Carrollton, 6 pm
February 28, Greater Lyttonsville/Woodside, 6 pm