Governor O’Malley Announces Purple Line Locally Preferred Alternative
‘Next Generation’ of Transit Connects Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties
NEW CARROLLTON, MD (August 4, 2009) - Governor Martin O’Malley announced today that the locally preferred alternative (LPA) for the Purple Line will consist of a light rail line operating along a 16-mile east-west corridor from Bethesda in Montgomery County to New Carrollton in Prince George’s County. The project will now be submitted to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) under its “New Starts” process as the State seeks the approval to begin preliminary engineering and competes for federal funding for the $1.5 billion project.
“The Purple Line will create a lasting legacy by providing more transportation capacity in a way that protects and preserves existing communities,” said Governor O’Malley. “This east-west light rail line will connect with Metro and MARC in a way that will help reduce our dependence on cars by providing a reliable and environmentally friendly transit option to connect people with their places of employment, places of worship, and centers of economic development throughout the region. This is the basis for our Smart, Green, and Growing initiative.”
“Governor O’Malley and I have made public transportation one of our top priorities because we understand that Maryland cannot continue to move forward if our neighbors are buried in gridlock,” Lt. Governor Brown said. “The Purple Line project will do more than shuttle residents east and west through the Washington suburbs. It will connect people to opportunities. I applaud all the men and women who have shared our efforts to expand and improve public transportation and I look forward to traveling along this light rail in the near future to visit my friends in Silver Spring, in Bethesda and in New Carrolton.”
The preferred alternative selected will connect major employment and activity centers in Bethesda/Chevy Chase, Silver Spring, University of Maryland College Park, and New Carrollton with residential and commercial areas located in between, including the Takoma Park/Langley Park community. It will link both branches of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Metrorail Red Line at Bethesda and Silver Spring, the Green Line at College Park, and the Orange Line at New Carrollton. The project will also connect all three MARC commuter rail lines, Amtrak, and local bus services.
“Moving forward on a light rail Purple Line is good news for thousands of Marylanders currently wasting time, money and gas in gridlock,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Transportation Subcommittee. “The lack of affordable, convenient transportation choices connecting Maryland communities, along with Metro, MARC and Amtrak, has been frustrating for individuals and businesses throughout our region, but that is changing. As we begin to develop climate change legislation in the Senate, my number one priority will be to ensure that we make robust investments in public transit projects such as the Purple Line that will be good for our economy and good for our environment.”
“The Purple Line is a critical project for Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, and I intend to partner with my Congressional colleagues to ensure that it receives the federal funding it deserves. It is essential that this project be implemented in a manner that preserves the integrity of the Capital Crescent Trail and minimizes the impact on surrounding neighborhoods. I will work with Governor O’Malley and federal transportation officials to accomplish this goal,” said Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).
The Purple Line LPA will be a pedestrian friendly system with a total of 21 stations proposed for the corridor that are projected to handle 64,800 boardings a day by 2030. On the eastern end, it will operate along the Montgomery County Master Plan Georgetown Branch alignment where innovative design techniques will be used to allow the trail and the Purple Line to coexist in a community-friendly-manner.
“As a long-time champion of the Purple Line, I am excited that we are poised at the state and federal levels to make the Purple Line a reality,” said Rep. Donna F. Edwards. “While this project will impact some more than others along the route, the Purple Line project will promote transit system connectivity and provide much-needed transportation options for the entire region. It will improve east to west transportation across the region, and will be a source of economic development for both Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties. I thank Governor O’Malley, Senator Cardin, and County Executives Leggett and Johnson for their ongoing commitment to the Purple Line Project.”
The Purple Line LPA will largely run on the surface with one short tunnel section, one aerial section, and several underpasses and overpasses of busy roadways. It will operate mainly in dedicated or exclusive lanes, allowing for fast, reliable transit operations. The users of the Purple Line will generally access the line by foot, since it directly serves local communities, or by other transit services, particularly Metrorail and local bus services.
The planning for this project has included extensive public participation and the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) has worked with local community members to develop alternatives that provide the greatest benefits, while minimizing adverse impacts. The Purple Line alternative selected has the support of both Jack B. Johnson, County Executive for Prince George’s County and Isiah Leggett, County Executive for Montgomery County. Support for the alternative also comes from both county councils, the mayors of many towns, and numerous legislators along the 16-mile corridor.
“Too much time is spent in the car each day going to and from work. This is lost time that could be spent with family and friends. The Purple Line will give commuters another mass transit option and shorten commute times, thus allowing people to spend less time away from their loved ones,” said Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson. “Additionally, it will give us more opportunities to create mixed-used, transit-oriented development projects where our residents can live, work and have easy access to public transportation.”
The MTA will continue to work to address and mitigate concerns and issues raised by communities and citizens throughout the study process. Public outreach and agency coordination will continue to be an integral part of the development of the final environmental impact statement, providing opportunities for local residents and stakeholders to contribute to the planning and design of the project. With appropriate approvals and funding, construction could start in 2013 and service on the Purple Line could begin in 2016.
Governor O’Malley also announced today the preferred alternative for the Baltimore Red Line. The Red Line is a 14-mile, east-west light rail line that will extend from the Woodlawn area in Baltimore County to the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Campus in east Baltimore City. It will provide convenient connections to the Metro Subway, the existing Light Rail system, MARC commuter trains and local bus routes to create a comprehensive regional transit network. Together, the Purple Line and the Red Line represent the next generation of transit in Maryland.
For more information on the Purple Line, please visit www.purplelinemd.com.
Purple Line Key Facts
- Mode - Light rail
- Overall length - 16.3 miles
- Surface – 13.7 miles
- Tunnel - .7 miles
- Aerial – 1.9 miles
- Stations - 21 surface stations
- Capital cost - $1.517 billion (2009 dollars)
- Average daily ridership – 64,800 (43% of riders will use Metrorail for part of their trip)
- FTA cost-effectiveness rating - $23.20
- Maintenance facilities – 2
- Lyttonsville: on Brookville Road in Montgomery County
- Glenridge: on Veterans Parkway in Prince George’s County
- LRT vehicles - 55
- Autos off the road - 19,200 new daily transit trips
- One-way travel time - Bethesda to New Carrollton - 56 minutes
- Frequency of service
- 6 minutes peak headway
- 10 minutes off-peak headway
- Schedule (provided necessary approvals obtained and funding available)
- Preliminary Engineering begins 2009
- Final Design begins 2011
- Construction begins 2013
- Operations begins 2016