"Stop Talking, Start Building"
Purple Line Supporters Protest $45 per Ticket Fundraiser for Anti-Transit Group
March 2, 2015
At a sidewalk rally in front of Silver Spring's American Film Institute this evening, the Action Committee for Transit denounced the Maryland Public Policy Institute (MPPI)'s “policy forum” featuring the anti-transit propagandist Randal O'Toole. O'Toole opposed repairing New York City's subways after Hurricane Sandy.At $45 per ticket, the event is in fact a fundraiser for MPPI, which has always opposed the Purple Line, a desperately needed transit line popular with Marylanders. “This is really a fundraiser, not a policy forum to educate the public or policy makers,” said ACT President Nick Brand.
Offering a platform to a person like Randal O'Toole exemplifies MPPI's anti-transit bias, Brand pointed out. O'Toole thinks the problem with Los Angeles is not enough highways and too many subways, and he says that allowing economic development at rail stations is “social engineering.” O'Toole argues that the Purple Line's projected ridership numbers can't be true — simply because they are so good.
Given these biases and the $45 ticket, debating transit at an MPPI sponsored event is like playing football with the New England Patriots — and asking the Patriots to bring the football.
“I can't afford to spend $45 a ticket for a debate on something whose benefits are so obvious,” said Tracey Johnstone, a resident of Montgomery County. “It's time to stop talking and start building the Purple Line.”
A 6:00 pm press conference kicked off a pro-Purple Line rally on the sidewalk in front of the AFI Theater. At 7:00, ACT is hosting a free (no charge) public panel discussing the Purple Line at the nearby Tastee Diner in downtown Silver Spring, complete with Purple Pancakes. Both ACT events will be entirely free to the public.