Purple Line's Future Up in The Air, Gov. Hogan to Decide Whether Project Will Continue | NBC4 Washington

Purple Line's Future Up in The Air, Gov. Hogan to Decide Whether Project Will Continue

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    Maryland residents remain split on a multi-billion light rail project that aims to decrease gridlock and traffic in the most congested areas. News4's Adam Tuss reports. (Published Monday, March 2, 2015)

    Maryland residents remain split on a multi-billion light rail project that aims to decrease gridlock and traffic in the most congested areas.

    Dozens of Purple Line opponents gathered inside the AFI Silver Theater, while its supporters chanted outside.

    The proposed 16-mile line would connect Montgomery and Prince George's counties with 21 stops, running east-west between Bethesda and New Carrolton.

    "We're literally at the 1-yard line," Richard Parsons with the Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance said. "We are like the Seattle Seahawks, we're about to punch it in."

    The Federal Transit Administration estimated the project would cost of $2.45 billion to build and $55 million to operate each year. 

    "It's a great way to get around and not have to be in a car," Nick Brand with the Action Committee for Transit said. 

    The project's opponents say the costs outweigh the benefits.

    "15.5 mph, that's how fast the Purple Line is going to go," Randal O'Toole with the Cato Institute said. "It's actually going to go slower than 15.5 mph and that's their optimistic projection."

    If the line isn't built, Maryland residents can expect a lot more gridlock.

    Gov. Hogan outlined plans to increase funding for highways and roads in his State of the State address earlier this year, but did not mention the future of the Purple Line. Prior to that, Hogan said his budget would include funding for the project.

    However, during his gubernatorial campaign, Hogan said state funds would be better spent on roads and highways than public transit.

    President Barack Obama allocated $100 million in federal aid to the Purple Line in his new transportation budget proposal. That would be included in $900 million the Federal Transit Administration is expected to approve.