For immediate release:
February 19, 2013
Stewart Schwartz, Coalition for Smarter Growth, (703) 599-6437
Robbyn Lewis, Red Line Now PAC, (443) 604-2984
Ralph Bennett, Purple Line Now, (301) 602-6185
Nancy Soreng, League of Women Voters of Maryland, (301) 986-1916
A new coalition uniting groups from Baltimore to Washington announced today a joint campaign with a strong message to Annapolis: increased funding for transportation, with a particular focus on transit, must be a top priority for Governor O’Malley and the General Assembly this year.
Leaders of the new coalition “Get Maryland Moving” warned that without a source of new revenue, critical transit projects like the Washington area’s Purple Line, Baltimore’s Red Line, Montgomery County’s Corridor Cities Transitway, MARC modernization and expansion, and Metro rehabilitation could miss out on federal funding and be delayed for years.
Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, said in a statement, “Maryland’s economic competitiveness is at risk if the state fails to invest adequately in maintenance, local roads and modern transit systems. These transit investments are essential for providing relief from peak hour congestion, for supporting economic development, and for reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions”.
“If we don’t act this year we could well miss our best chance to agree on a funding solution. Without funding, we will lose the Purple Line and other critical transit projects,” said Ralph Bennett, President of Purple Line Now, a coalition of business and citizens in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. The Purple Line is projected to carry 79,000 passengers per day by 2040, linking Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties and four branches of the Metro system, providing better access to jobs and creating an alternative to sitting in traffic.
Fears for the future of the state’s transit investments came to the fore when local government officials noticed that the Maryland Transit Administration had quietly included a note in its budget indicating that funds for Purple Line and Red Line engineering would be deleted if the state didn’t raise transportation revenue this year.
“Investing in these projects will benefit our communities now, and for generations to come, said Robbyn Lewis, founder of Red Line Now PAC in Baltimore. “We’ve knocked doors, signed petitions, and called our legislators before. The difference now is, we’re working with others across the state who share our vision and are growing a movement for a better transportation future for Maryland.”
The Red Line, a 14 mile light rail line connecting western Baltimore County with eastern Baltimore City is projected to carry over 30,000 passengers per day by 2030 and will stimulate over 10,000 new jobs in an area greatly in need of economic investment.
“The unity we are showing here between regions of the state is the unity we hope for from the legislature in supporting a funding solution and smart transportation investments”, said Nancy Soreng, President of the Maryland League of Women Voters.
The coalition launched a website today at www.getmarylandmoving.org and is circulating a petition calling for a statewide solution to raise transportation revenues. In addition to the petition, the group plans a number of grassroots activities in the coming weeks to demonstrate the growing wave of support for transit investment throughout Maryland.
The founding members of the Get Maryland Moving coalition include 1000 Friends of Maryland, Action Committee for Transit, Bikemore, Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, Coalition for Smarter Growth, Edmondson Village Community Association, Evergreen Protective Association, Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce, Highlandtown Community Association, Indian Springs Civic Association, League of Women Voters Baltimore, League of Women Voters of Maryland, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery County Sierra Club, Patterson Park Neighborhood Association (PPNA), Purple Line Now, Purple Rail Alliance, Red Line Now, and the Southeast Community Development Corporation. For more information, please visit www.getmarylandmoving.org.
About the Coalition for Smarter Growth
The Coalition for Smarter Growth is the leading organization in the Washington D.C. region dedicated to making the case for smart growth. Our mission is to promote walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities, and the land use and transportation policies needed to make those communities flourish. To learn more, visit the Coalition’s website at www.smartergrowth.net.