Monday, November 7, 2011

Maryland Purple Line Light Rail Estimates: 27,000 New Jobs a Year and Traffic-Free Commutes

The Action Committee for Transit today highlighted new estimates from the Maryland Transit Administration regarding the Prince George's and Montgomery County light rail "Purple Line" project. In a press release, the group announced that commuting times between Bethesda and Silver Spring would take only 8.5 minutes for light rail commuters:
A trip from Bethesda to Silver Spring now takes 25 minutes on Metro's J4 express bus at the peak of the evening rush hour.  Traffic congestion is expected to be even worse by the time the Purple Line opens....

“Get to Bethesda in 8½ minutes in rush hour?” said Tina Slater, a Silver Spring resident who is president of the Action Committee for Transit. “For someone who has to drive in today's traffic it's hard to even imagine.”
The reduced commuting times come alongside new projections on the massive economic development benefits of the project. The Examiner last week noted several new estimates from the Maryland Transit Administration:
The Purple Line is expected to bring in $1.8 billion in revenue, raise property values $8.4 billion and create 27,000 new jobs every year over the course of 30 years, Purple Line Project Manager Mike Madden told a joint meeting of Montgomery and Prince George's county council members Thursday.
The jobs would be a combination of construction-related jobs and positions created through the economic development the proposed 16-mile light rail line is expected to generate in the areas it would serve -- which stretches from New Carrollton to Bethesda and includes College Park and Silver Spring, he said....

The rail system's 21 stations would connect all three MARC commuter lines with Metro's Red, Green and Orange lines, Amtrak and local bus systems, Madden said. About 30 percent of the estimated 60,000 daily riders are expected to use Metrorail for part of their trip.

"I'm very hopeful on the Purple Line," said Montgomery County Councilman Hans Riemer, D-at large. "It has tremendous potential for economic development for the region" and could be "game-changing."
Note: The MTA is hosting a Purple Line open house tonight (11/7) in Silver Spring and on Thursday (11/10) in Riverdale.

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