Purple Line NOW! seeks mobility choices for citizens of our region. We believe the Purple Line is the most important next addition to the Maryland public transit network. The Purple Line will be a 16-mile long modern light rail and will connect Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Lytonsville, Silver Spring, Long Branch, Takoma/Langley, College Park/the University of Maryland, M Square, Riverdale Park and New Carrollton, Maryland. The Purple Line will form an arc around the northern end of our nation's capital, tying together major Maryland suburban centers in Maryland's two most populous counties.
The Purple Line will connect to four branches of the metro rail system (Red twice, Green, and Orange), three MARC rail lines, two AMTRAK lines, dozens of bus routes and two intercity bus stations.
The Purple Line will cut the travel time for tens of thousands of current transit riders. It will bring more Maryland residents into close proximity to stops on the regional rail transit system and encourage additional tens of thousands of citizens to switch to transit for trips to work, school and recreational activities.
The Purple Line Meets Federal Priorities:
Today, the broad political and public support for the Purple Line puts it on track for approval by Maryland and onto the path for federal funding. The Purple Line has some of the highest ridership numbers among competing light rail projects around the nation, and it also services the region's large federal workforce. It is well-positioned for federal funding and meets many of President Barack Obama's priorities:
Energy independence: Ridership projections predict that 17,000 cars a day would be removed from our congested roadways as 69.300 people a day would enjoy the ride on quiet, comfortable light rail trains. By encouraging mass transit, we can begin to wean ourselves off of foreign oil and shift to domestic clean energy, which may one day power the Purple Line.
Job creation: Business, labor and elected officials highlight the critical linkages between efficient, quality transportation and our region's jobs and economic growth. On average $100 million in transit capital investment creates 2,380 jobs; and $100 million in transit operations creates 4,110 jobs! The project also fits into the expected green infrastructure focus of Obama's administration.
- A Cleaner Environment: The thousands of autos diverted from our streets and highways by the Purple Line will mean a large reduction in carbon emissions from the growing legions of commuters who will choose to ride light rail instead of driving. Additionally, by promoting smart growth and transit-oriented development instead of sprawl, the Purple Line will provide a long-term incentive for continued diversion of residents from auto-based to foot and transit-based lifestyles. The Sierra Club as selected the Purple Line as one of the 25 best transportation projects in the nation.
The Purple Line Meets Maryland's Priorities:
The Purple Line is one of the key transportation projects moving forward in Maryland, with the near unanimous support of state, county and federal elected officials representing Montgomery and Prince George's Counties. As a result, the state and federal governments have already committed over $200 million for preliminary engineering to make this project a reality. The Purple Line meets Maryland's priorities for smart growth, traffic relief, urban revitalization and access to jobs for working people:
Smart Growth: The Purple Line supports Prince George's and Montgomery County's technology-based, smart-growth economic development strategies by linking residents with job centers and business districts. The light rail stations along the Purple Line will promote walkable communities and transit-oriented development to counter the years of auto-based sprawl development that have profilerated in the region. This will create incentives to preserve our region's precious green space and concentrate development in more urbanized areas, consistent with the goals and master plans of Prince George's and Montgomery Counties. Notably, Portland, Oregon's light rail-based development allowed for 50% of population growth with a mere 2% increase in developed land.
Urban Revitalization & Access to Jobs: The Purple Line would address a transportation crisis that also happens to be in two of the most economically productive counties in Maryland - thereby serving the needs of our residents, while helping drive the state's economic recovery for years to come. Neighborhoods along the Purple Line will be revitalized as people seek housing that is close to Purple Line stops - a trend that is expected to grow over time. By connecting some of Montgomery and Prince George's counties' largest job centers, the Purple Line will dramatically shorten commutes for many riders who currently make multiple transfers to get to work, or who are unnecessarily forced to travel out of their way through the District of Columbia.
- Traffic Relief & Rail Capacity: Parking and traffic along the Purple Line route have become intolerable, as visitors and residents continue to bring more cars into the area. Maryland's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the Purple Line projects that this problem will get worse should light rail not be built. In contrast, the 17,000 cars that the Purple Line will take off the road will mitigate our worsening traffic and congestion. Moreover, light rail provides flexibility to accommodate future growth in ridership, as adding railcars is much simpler than expanding buses or widening highways. In many cities with new light rail systems, ridership has quickly exceeded projections, oftentimes years ahead of schedule. With higher gas prices, Purple Line ridership could be even higher than forecasted. In short, when given the option not to drive, commuters love and use light rail.