As you finalize the 2015 annual transportation priorities letter to the Maryland DOT, the Action Committee for Transit urges your adoption of the priorities of the drafts submitted to you by the Planning Board and the Executive, with an unambiguous declaration of the primacy of the Purple Line’s priority and importance, as well as inclusion of expanded MARC service on the CSX Brunswick line as a developmental project.
First, we support the clear statement of first priority for the Purple Line contained in the draft adopted by the Planning Board. The Purple Line is ready to build, with environmental approvals in place, Federal funding commitments agreed to, and first Federal appropriations made. The CCT is more than a year from getting environmental clearance, assuming the process proceeds with exceptional smoothness and speed, and does not have the funding commitment levels.
The positive impacts of the Purple Line on mobility, job creation, and the environment are exceptionally strong, and directly beneficial to a wide range of communities in Montgomery, Prince George’s and surrounding counties. And the Purple Line supports in-fill, less auto-dependent development and revitalization of existing communities.
Second, we support the inclusion of expanded MARC service on the Brunswick line, and the additional track on the CSX line that is necessary to make this work for the railroad owner. The current State Rail Plan places this project in the 2030-2050 timeframe, which reflects a lack of urgency and resources, rather than a serious evaluation of the benefits, costs, and project development timetable. We suggest that the letter request the State to develop a comprehensive phased plan that will lead to daily two-way service on the line, rather than limit it to Washington Grove and the County line, as in the Planning Board draft.
Nick Brand, President