The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board voted unanimously Wednesday to support a new light rail lane between New Carrollton and Bethesda.
The board, made up of representatives from the District of Columbia and Virginia as well as Maryland, gave its approval after hearing from opponents and proponents of the so-called Purple Line. The transit line had strong support from both Prince George's and Montgomery county governments, but faced resistance from some in the town of Chevy Chase.
The Purple Line's approval by the metropolitan planning group retains a rough symmetry between Maryland's transit plans for the Washington region and Baltimore. The state is moving forward with plans for both the Purple Line and Baltimore's east-west Red Line, striking a rough political balance between the needs of the two regions.
See the board's full release below.
Washington, D.C. – In a crucial step for the project’s future, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) voted unanimously today to advance the light rail Purple Line for inclusion in the 2009 Constrained Long Range Transportation Plan (CLRP).
At its May meeting, the TPB was briefed on the inclusion, and the proposal was then released for a public comment period ending on June 13. At today’s meeting, the Board was briefed on the comments received during the comment period and heard remarks from attendees. A number of people, both for and against the 16-mile light rail project between Bethesda and New Carrollton in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, voiced their opinion at the meeting.
Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal (D-At Large) addressed the TPB, enumerating the strong support that the light rail option has received by the Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties’ Councils and Executive branches. “We will encounter problems wherever else we try to move this transitway,” Leventhal noted. “This is the best solution.”
Maryland Delegate William Bronrott (D-16th), Maryland Senator Jennie Forehand (D-17th), and Prince George’s County Council Member Tony Knotts (D-8th) echoed Leventhal’s comments on the widespread support that the project has among elected officials in the area.
The Board’s approval for the project’s inclusion in the air quality conformity assessment for an amendment to the 2009 CLRP and FY 2010-2015 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is a prerequisite for the project to complete the environmental review process and move forward for construction.