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Hogan Aides Rebuff Business, Labor & Enviros
As They Huddle With Columbia Country Club

Purple Line Choice: Jobs or Golf?

April 27, 2015

The Hogan administration ignored repeated meeting requests from Purple Line NOW while high-level staff in the governor's office and Secretary of Transportation Pete Rahn conferred with lobbyists from Columbia Country Club, the Action Committee for Transit charged today. Purple Line NOW is a coalition that includes major business, labor, environmental and civic organizations in Maryland's Washington suburbs.

Governor Hogan himself met with leaders of the country club at a January fundraiser where club members contributed $35,000 to his political fund. The club's golf course was built years ago on both sides of an even older railroad track; the Purple Line will run on that rail right of way.

Political observers say that Hogan's Purple Line choice could make or break his term in office, yet as a mid-May decision deadline approaches he has not toured the light rail route and has not announced any plans to do so. “The governor needs to stand in the shoes of Marylanders who worry about jobs and traffic, and don't get to enjoy the view from the 15th tee,” said ACT vice president Ronit Aviva Dancis.

Maryland can easily pay for the light rail line, Dancis noted. The federal government has offered a $900 million grant and a $732 million loan at 2½% interest, so that the state's cash contribution is only $288 million over six years.

A study released last week by the Greater Washington Board of Trade and Montgomery and Prince George's Counties predicts that the Purple Line will attract 27,000 new jobs to the two counties. “Does Mr. Hogan want to be Governor Jobs or Governor Golf?” Dancis asked.