Transit Times, vol. 31, no. 1, January 2017
Next Meetings
• January 10 - Annual Meeting with Election
of Officers* and “Transit Is Much Safer
Than You Think” Speaker: Todd Litman,
Executive Director, Victoria Transport Policy
• February 14 - “Anatomy of Montgomery
County’s Housing Shortage”
Speaker: Jeannette Chapman, George Mason
University Center for Regional Analysis
• March 14 - Program to be announced.
ACT’s monthly meetings are normally held on
the second Tuesday of each month, at the Silver
Spring Civic Center, One Veterans Place. Meet-
ings begin at 7:30pm.
The Silver Spring Civic Center faces the Fenton
Street and Ellsworth Avenue. It is an eight-minute
walk north from the Silver Spring Metro Station.
Many bus routes can take you to and from the
meeting. Ride-On #15 and #19 stop at the corner
of Wayne Ave. & Fenton St.; Metrobus routes Z6
and Z8 and Ride-On routes #9 and #12 stop along
Colesville Road; Ride-On #16, #17, and #20 pass
by on Fenton St. If coming by car, plentiful eve-
ning parking is available at the Wayne Avenue
garage and is (despite ACT’s advocacy against
subsidies for drivers) free after 7:00pm.
ACT Staff: Cindy Snow & Kathy Jentz / 240-308-1209
The newsletter of the Action Committee for Transit of Montgomery County, Maryland.
Inside This Issue
A State-Wide Rail Network for MD...................4
The Maryland Transit Opportunities Coalition is
the Action Committee for Transit, the Baltimore
Transit Equity Coalition, Prince George’s Advo-
cates for Community-based Transit and Southern
Maryland Alliance for Rapid Transit.
Can Chasing After a Bus Inspire Art?...............5
Paul Taylor was inspired to choreograph Espla-
nade by the sight of a girl running to catch a bus.
Nominating Committee Report............. ............6
Come to our January 10 meeting prepared to vote
for ACT officers for 2017. You may nominate
someone or go with ACT’s Nominating Commit-
tee recommendations listed on page 6.
President’s Letter.................................................2
ACT moves forward an VisionZero, MARC, and
METRO, while the Purple Line is in limbo.
Purple Line Groundbreaking Still on Hold ....3
Groundbreaking for the Purple Line will not take
place until the project’s federal Record of Deci-
sion is reinstated by U.S. District Court Judge
Richard Leon.
69% of Transit Measures Pass on Nov. 8th.......3
Throughout the country this year, in 23 states and
communities of all sizes, voters considered nearly
$200 billion in local investment for public trans-
portation at the ballot box.
Transit Times
Transit Times, vol. 31, no. 1, January 2017
A glimmer of light is showing a possible early
way out of the legal limbo for the Purple Line, as
we wait for Judge Leon’s response to the Depart-
ment of Justice request that he reconsider his Au-
gust decision. Although advocates would have, of
course, preferred that he simply reverse that deci-
sion and allow construction to proceed, we at least
now have a possible way forward. In late Novem-
ber, Judge Leon modified his original decision and
allowed the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
to determine whether a Supplemental Environ-
mental Impact Statement (SEIS) is necessary. The
FTA promptly responded on December 18.
Not surprisingly, the transit professionals who had
approved the Purple Line didn’t think any further
analysis was necessary. Furthermore, the FTA said
that even in the unlikely scenario that the Purple
Line had no riders from WMATA, the projected
2040 ridership of 50,000 would still be “one of
the most robust light-rail systems funded by the
FTA in recent years.” Now that the FTA has an-
swered Judge Leon’s question regarding an SEIS,
the next step is up to him. Our hope is that he will
follow the one of the possible paths laid out in his
November ruling and allow construction to begin.
In the meantime, we have continued our work for
better transit and sustainable land use.
Our regional conversation about how to return
WMATA to a state of good working order con-
tinues. ACT held a “Late Night Metro Ride” on
September 30 to call attention to proposed last
night metrorail service cuts. Late night metro rail
service is critical for employees at restaurants,
bars, and hospitals (really anyone who doesn’t
work a standard 9 to 5 shift.) The service cuts
would also require Nationals fans attending games
at the ballpark to leave long before the game ends
to avoid being stranded.
Hours before ACT’s “Late Night Ride” took
place, Nats star Max Scherzer called on WMATA
to make an exception in service cuts to allow
Washington baseball fans to see all of the Nats
playoff games. That night our event was featured
on the local 11:00PM news on FOX, NBC, and
ABC. Elected officials from both the Montgomery
County Council and the Maryland House of Del-
egates joined us. This fall, ACT also co-sponsored
two forums on WMATAs future: Metro in the
Public Eye and Metro Money.
We look forward to continuing to work with
our allies and elected officials in 2017 to fight for
WMATAs future.
On the state level, we are proud to report that ACT
is a founder and member of the new Maryland
Transit Opportunities Coalition (MTOC). MTOC
brings together transit activists from all over the
state to press for the Baltimore Red Line, all-day
MARC train service throughout Maryland and
light rail to Southern Maryland. To see all the
possible connections this transit network would
create, check out the map at MTOC’s website: and page 5 of this issue.
Vision Zero
Our push for safer streets for people traveling on
foot and by bicycle has helped produce legislation
that will allow for lower speed limits in residen-
tial and urban areas. Currently, the default speed
limit on county roads without a posted speed limit
is 30 mph, regardless of whether that is appropri-
ate. Furthermore, current state law can prevent
the county from lowering the speed limit below
25mph; this means that the speed limit for cul de
sacs in residential areas must be at least 25mph.
Two bills, introduced by Delegates Moon and Ko-
rman, will grant the county the power to lower the
speed limit when appropriate.
As always, if you have questions about what ACT
is doing or if you would like to volunteer, please
email us at We would
love to hear from you.
Ronit Aviva Dancis
President’s Letter
Transit Times, vol. 31, no. 1, January 2017
69% of Transit $$ Ballot
Measures Passed in Nov ’16
By Quon Kwan
Voters across the US approved 33 of 48 local and
state public transit ballot measures on November
8th, according to the American Public Transporta-
tion Association. See
The number of November 8 ballot measures (49),
as well as their collective total amount (nearly
$200 billion), were the largest in history. Since
2000, the average success rate of transit measures
is 71%.
Furthermore, 77 total transit measures appeared
on ballots throughout 2016, the highest number on
record. This follows a growing trend in the num-
ber of measures annually, indicating local cities
and counties increasingly see the need for local
investment in public transportation and recogniz-
ing that ballot initiatives can be a powerful way to
meet that need.
The biggest win was the incredible passage of
Measure M by over 70% of the voters in the coun-
try’s car capital — Los Angeles, CA. It increases
the sales tax by ½ % to raise $120 billion over 40
years for transit, including a new rail line between
Los Angeles and southeast communities, a new
rail tunnel connecting San Fernando Valley and
Westwood in addition to completing the subway
underneath Wilshire Blvd. from La Cienega Blvd.
to Westwood.
Most significantly for our own Purple Line, Prince
George’s County, MD, voters approved borrowing
money to pay for the county’s $120 million por-
tion of the Purple Line light rail project
The second largest transit measure in the U.S.
passed in Seattle, WA. It would hike taxes to raise
$54 billion over 25 years for Sound Transit to ex-
pand its light rail system and add bus rapid transit
Purple Line Groundbreaking
Still on Hold
By Quon Kwan
The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) said
on December 18th that groundbreaking for the
Purple Line will not take place until the project’s
federal Record of Decision is reinstated by U.S.
District Court Judge Richard Leon who revoked it
earlier in August. The judge revoked the project’s
federal approval after finding that the MTA and
Federal Transit Administration (FTA) failed to
study the effect, if any, of Metro’s recent mainte-
nance issues and ridership decline would have on
the project. Purple Line ridership is forecasted to
exceed 74,000 on a weekday by 2040, according
to MTAs 2014 estimates.
Judge Leon asked the agencies to determine
whether they believe a new supplemental environ-
mental impact statement is needed due to Metro’s
problems and to issue a report to him detailing
why they do not believe a new one is needed, if
that’s the case. On December 18th, both the FTA
and MTA replied dismissing concerns that Met-
ro’s safety issues and decline in ridership would
significantly negatively affect the Purple Line
ridership. The agencies agreed if no Metro riders
used the Purple Line, the light rail line would still
have about 50,000 weekday riders by 2040 and
said a new Supplemental Environmental Impact
State-ment is not needed. See https://www.scribd.
In his Nov. 22 order, Judge Leon said the plaintiffs
(two Chevy Chase residents and Friends of the
Capital Crescent Trail) have 14 days to file their
opposition to the motion. At that point, the FTA,
MTA, and others will have seven days to reply to
the opposition. After the reply is filed, Judge Leon
would issue a new ruling. Due to the month-long
filing deadlines, coupled with the winter holidays,
it is unlikely the Record of Decision would be
reinstated until late January at the earliest. Further
delay could cost $13 million per month and an
extended delay could cost $400 million.
Transit Times, vol. 31, no. 1, January 2017
Voters in Santa Clara County, CA passed Mea-
sure B raising their sales tax by half a cent to
transportation improvements, including bringing
San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to
downtown San Jose, raising more than $6 billion
over the next three decades. Measure B was gar-
nering 71% support with an estimated 44% of the
ballots counted.
In Fairfax County, VA, voters passed a $120
million bond measure, a portion of which would
finance safety and system maintenance projects,
new rail cars and power upgrades for running
eight car trains, additional buses for operating
Priority Corridor Networks, and rail station im-
In Arlington County, VA, voters passed a $58.8
million bond measure to partly finance the cost
of various capital projects for Metrorail and other
transit, pedestrian, road and transportation proj-
On a personal note, it seems that in the face of
both President-elect Donald Trump’s emphasis to
bolster infrastructure and Republican platform to
delete transit funding, the best bet is to pass local
measures supporting transit funding.
A State-Wide Rail Network
Advocated for Maryland
By Quon Kwan
On October 11, 2016, Maryland state-wide transit
advocates, the newly formed “Maryland Transit
Opportunities Coalition,” made its debut. The
coalition is comprised of Action Committee for
Transit, the Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition,
Prince George’s Advocates for Community-based
Transit and Southern Maryland Alliance for Rapid
Transit. In the debut, it asked Governor Larry
Hogan to redirect $8 billion proposed for widen-
ing of I-270 and the Washington Beltway to build
a state-wide rail network to run from Delaware to
Southern Maryland to West Virginia and connect-
ing Baltimore and Washington Metrorail systems.
As a link in this state-wide rail network, the Balti-
more Light Rail Red Line project would be re-
vived. The plan would be to construct the Red and
Purple lines, fund the planning and development
of a $25 million Southern Maryland Light Rail
line and increase the frequency of the Maryland
Area Rail Commuter (MARC) commuter trains.
Governor Hogan withdrew state funding for the
Baltimore Red Line, the long-anticipated east-
west rail line between Woodlawn and Bayview.
Governor Hogan called the $2.9 billion Red Line
a “wasteful boondoggle.” At the same time, the
Governor conditionally approved a slimmed-down
Purple Line project that reduced much of the
state’s contribution, leaving Prince George’s and
Montgomery counties to pay more of the cost.
Ben Ross, chair of the new coalition, said its
members had been working separately to promote
local transit projects for years — but now want
to work together on a statewide approach. “We
developed a plan,” said Ross, the former president
of the Action Committee for Transit in Montgom-
ery County. At the same cost as the widening of of
I-270 and D.C. Beltway, we could build a transit
network all across Maryland from Elkton to Fred-
erick, from Waldorf all the way to Towson.” “Our
basic strategy is to make the public understand
what the possibilities are here,” he said. “Over the
next 10 to 20 years there will be several gover-
nors. I think it’s more a matter of what the public
wants than who is in office. ..”
The coalition asked the Governor to resume work
on the Red Line and reintroduce a decade-old
MARC plan for all-day, two-way service to/from
Washington, Frederick, and Camden Yards, and
between Baltimore and points north (Aberdeen,
Elkton and Delaware). Ross said coalition mem-
bers will attend Maryland Department of Trans-
portation road shows to make their case directly to
the public.
The coalition email is
Follow MTOC ON Twitter at @TransitforMD.