Purple Line Debate a Class Act?

Sides at issue over economics

The proposed Purple Line, which would connect Montgomery and Prince George's counties either via light rail or busway, has unleashed strong feelings both for and against it.

But are people really fighting over a transportation project that would span from Bethesda to New Carrollton, or are there underlying issues at stake?

Some say the issue at the heart of the debate is an economic divide, according to the Washington Post.

"I think almost anyone you talk to who is paying attention would think race and class, as represented by the split between the two counties, is in play," Peter A. Shapiro, a former Prince George's County Council member, told the Post. "It's the smelly fish under the table -- everyone knows it's there, but not everyone is talking about it openly."

The Purple Line would span 16 miles and would provide a direct connection to the Metrorail Red, Green and Orange lines. The Purple Line would also connect to MARC, Amtrak, and local bus services. (Click here for a map of the proposed route.)

Opponents of the Purple Line say cost of the project is the main issue.  The cost has been estimated as high as $1.6 billion, a hefty sum in hard economic times.  So a group from the town of Chevy Chase is getting pro bono help from a Washington law firm and is paying a New York consultant about $400,000 to analyze the state's plans, according to the Post.

"This is just a fight for them to keep people out, like they don't want to bring 'that element' in," Katrina Dodro, a New Carrollton City Council member, told the Post. "People in Prince George's want access to those jobs."

For more on the debate over the Purple Line, click here.

More Information:

Purple Line Web Site

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