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Success for ACT's 31 Years of Advocacy: Purple Line Breaks Ground

Gala Celebration Set for September 23

Press release issued August 28, 2017

After 31 years of hard work, the Action Committee for Transit is elated that ground will be broken this morning to begin construction of the Purple Line.

ACT was founded in 1986 to advocate for a light rail connection between Bethesda and Silver Spring, using freight rail tracks that were then being abandoned. Ten years later, ACT proposed extending the planned project eastward through Langley Park and College Park – a proposal that evolved into today's Purple Line.

Building a project as important as the Purple Line takes many hands, a lot of heart and even more patience. ACT’s Harry Sanders first proposed the Purple Line in 1986. Building this rail line made sense then and makes even more sense now – days after it was announced that July 2017 was the hottest month recorded on this planet.

ACT applauds Governor Hogan for joining his predecessors Gov. Parris Glendening and Gov. Martin O’Malley in making this urgently needed transportation project a reality. ACT thanks Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao for her support of this vital step to make the Washington area’s transportation worthy of a world capital, and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh for the legal work that brought us over the finish line this past year.

“Our thanks go out to the many Maryland legislators, and Montgomery and Prince George's county elected officials who, along with Maryland's Congressional delegation, made the case for the Purple Line,” said Barbara Sanders, who has been working for the Purple Line for over three decades. “This is the first concrete step to Harry’s vision of connecting people and communities.”

“This victory is just as much one for ‘people power’ for all those who volunteered on behalf of the Purple Line,” said ACT President Ronit Aviva Dancis. “It was a massive effort by everyone who handed out flyers on cold mornings at Metro and bus stations; attended open houses to become better informed; wrote, called and e-mailed elected officials, wrote letters to the editor and who worked so hard to benefit people other than themselves.”

ACT is deeply grateful to its long term members – especially the Sanders family, who were there at the beginning and continue to doggedly support the line to this day, and Ben Ross, ACT's president from 1996 to 2011.

Our joy is muted by the memory of those ACT members who were there at the beginning to spur on this project and provide the spark that has kept it alive since it was first proposed in 1986 and are no longer with us to see the beginning of construction of a line that should have been completed ten years ago.

ACT looks forward to riding the Purple Line with Governor Hogan, his predecessors in Maryland’s Government House, those who supported its construction and all the Marylanders who so desperately need better commutes to work and school.

A full history of the grass-roots campaign for the Purple Line is at

On September 23, ACT will mark its victory with a gala celebration in Silver Spring, featuring Rep. Jamie Raskin as a special guest. Details of this event are on our website at