Friday, October 28, 2011

Press Conference: PG & MoCo Purple Line Backers to Call on MD to Fund Light Rail Project

Prince George's and Montgomery Purple Line backers appear to be rallying the troops to ensure the Maryland Assembly prioritizes funding for the two-county project. The press announcement below notes that several elected officials and transit advocates will push for the Purple Line during Maryland's transportation funding debate.

As transportation funds become increasingly scarce, transit supporters appear to be once again pushing for light rail over more traffic-inducing highways. According to Southern Maryland News, light rail appears to be the wave of the future -- even Carroll County now wants a light rail line:
A light rail line to Washington, D.C., is now Charles County government’s chief transportation-related desire, but the state transportation secretary told the county commissioners Oct. 19 not to expect much of anything to happen soon. 
A rail system linking White Plains and Waldorf to the Branch Avenue Metro station, with stops in Prince George’s County, was the county’s primary request in a letter to the Maryland Department of Transportation in the spring.
After all, the DC suburbs have among the "least bad" employment markets in the nation -- why wouldn't outlying counties want more ways to connect their residents to the primary source of the area's jobs (and do so without increasing traffic)?

But if we want to expand transit in Maryland, we need to move the projects forward that are currently on the table. It seems critical to do so now that Maryland is debating transportation funding. Maryland Juice would like to one day see a dedicated Transit Trust Fund or lockbox in our State. Until then, see the press release below. Purple Line backers are holding a press conference outside of an upcoming Purple Line open house (see schedule of open houses):

Media Advisory

What: Purple Line Press Conference
When: Tuesday, Nov. 1, 6:00 pm
Where: University of Maryland College Park, Stamp Student Union

Prince George's & Montgomery Join to Urge Purple Line Funding

Legislators and community leaders from Montgomery and Prince George's counties will call for funding the Purple Line with new transportation revenues in the next legislative session at a press conference Nov. 1 in College Park.  The event will coincide with a Purple Line open house organized by the Maryland Transit Administration.

Speakers will include State Senator Jamie Raskin, Delegate Susan Lee, College Park Mayor Andy Fellows, and representatives of the University of Maryland administration and student government (additional names to come).  The press conference is sponsored by the Purple Line Now coalition, the Action Committee for Transit, and Prince George's Advocates for Community-Based Transit.  Karren Pope-Onwukwe, co-chair of PGACT, will preside.

The open house and press conference follow on the Federal Transit Administration's endorsement of the Purple Line.  The project received a "medium-high" rating, ranking it above most of the competition in the race for federal funding.  Purple Line backers are now urging the state to step up to match this important federal commitment when transportation funding is debated in this winter's session of the legislature.


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