Over 150 elected officials, community leaders, and business leaders send message to Governor Hogan to build transit lines now
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2015
Susana Flores, CASA, (240) 706-2624, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelly Blynn, Coalition for Smarter Growth, (610) 220-5378, email@example.com
Ralph Bennett, Purple Line Now!, (301) 602-6185, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Norton, Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, 410-332-4172 ext. 121, email@example.com
Annapolis, MD – Over 150 community members, business leaders, and elected officials gathered in support of the Purple and Red Lines in Annapolis Monday night to call on legislators to keep fighting for the two transit projects, both of which are nearly ready to begin construction and create jobs for Maryland residents. With delays from the Hogan administration posing a threat to nearly $2 billion in federal funding for the two projects combined, a broad coalition of business, community, and elected were united in their message to legislators and the Governor that neither delay nor cancellation of these critical projects is acceptable.
“If we scrap these projects and dream up new ones each time there is an election, Maryland will not build the infrastructure it needs to provide a high quality of life and a competitive economy. The Red Line and Purple Line projects have been in development for decades, and now Governor Hogan’s administration has the opportunity to put people to work and inject the investment into the economy in year one”, said Grant Corley of Red Line Now!.
Numerous elected officials attended a press conference to demonstrate their support for the projects, including Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Prince George’s County Councilmembers Mel Franklin, Danielle Glaros, and Deni Taveras, Montgomery County Councilmembers George Leventhal and Roger Berliner, State Senators Jamie Raskin and Susan Lee, and Delegates Ana Sol Gutierrez, Marc Korman, Kumar Barve, Sheila Hixson, David Moon, Will Smith, Anne Healey, and Marice Morales.
Both transit lines are expected to significantly stimulate economic activity and investment. “The Purple Line will create over 27,000 permanent jobs, generate billions of dollars in new economic activity, and provide a vital east-west transit connection between the University of Maryland and job centers like Silver Spring and Bethesda in Maryland’s inner suburbs,” said Ralph Bennett, of Purple Line Now.“We probably have somewhere in the neighborhood of 85,000 to 100,000 jobs in the pipeline in Montgomery County”, said Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, “and what is tied to all of that is transportation, and most specifically transit. There is no Plan B for the Purple Line; any backup is a mild substitute, and we all will suffer.”
Community members and transit riders are eager for the Purple Line too, which will offer an alternative to traffic-choked commutes, cutting long east-west travel times to 9 minutes between Bethesda and Silver Spring, 28 minutes between Langley Park and Bethesda, and providing a direct high capacity transit connection to the University of Maryland.
“CASA supports the Purple Line because it will significantly benefit Purple Line communities by creating thousands of temporary and permanent jobs. Our members have been active supporting the Purple Line for over a decade and we should not wait any longer. CASA supports a Purple Line that is fair and inclusive and we look forward to working with Governor Hogan to make that happen,” Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of CASA.
Baltimore business leaders also stressed the Red Line’s economic impact. “The Red Line will not only transform the city’s rail transit into a connected, comprehensive system, it will be an important factor in attracting people and investment to Baltimore,” said Donald C. Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee.
According to the National Household Transportation Survey, 30% of Maryland residents aged 16 and older take transit at least once per month, the 4th highest of any state. Together, the Purple and Red Lines represent once-in-a-lifetime investments that will expand transportation options and access for residents of the populous Baltimore and Washington regions, while boosting job growth.
The Coalition for Smarter Growth organized Transit Night together with our partners Purple Line Now!, Action Committee for Transit, CASA de Maryland, the Fair Development Coalition, the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Transit, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, the Maryland Sierra Club, the Montgomery County Young Democrats, Montgomery Housing Partnership, Red Line Now!, Citizens Planning and Housing Association Inc., the Greater Baltimore Committee, and the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance.