FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 21st at 9 am
Contact – Ajay Bhatt, President
Friends of The Capital Crescent Trail
301-500-0124

$2.4 Billion in Taxpayer Dollars Designated by Federal government to Destroy Forests and Pollute the Rock Creek watershed —

Local Environmental Organization Likely to Challenge Federal Transportation Administration’s Record of Decision on Purple Line

“Today, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) decided that $2.4 billion (and counting) taxpayer dollars are best spent on a transportation project that will eliminate portions of Federal and state endangered species habitats and over 40 acres of heavily used regional parkland and mature trees, as indicated by the FTA’s issuance of the Record of Decision (ROD) regarding the Purple Line,” said Ajay Bhatt, President of the Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail.

“Dedicating $2.4 billion – a price tag that has more than doubled since the Purple Line’s conception — to destroy irreplaceable parkland directly undercuts significant investment by taxpayer funded community programs to mitigate storm water runoff by storing and harvesting rainwater as well as existing Montgomery County Conservation Laws and the pending Cost of Carbon Bill of Councilmember Roger Berliner,” added Jim Roy, a realtor familiar with local policies and communities. “This in turn invites questions as to whether the government is acting as a responsible fiscal and environmental steward, or is simply in thrall to the considerable and self-promoting investments development companies have put into the advancement of the Purple Line,” said Roy.

Issuing the Record of Decision without taking a hard look at environmental factors and mitigation – details that should have been in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) – is irresponsible and ultimately turns over environmental safety and protection of endangered species and their habitat to a for-profit entity now beholden to a lesser standard than that required by the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act, among other laws” said Ajay Bhatt. (Click here to read the Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail’s response to the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). )

Although the FTA’s ROD issuance indicates a supposed environmental review milestone, the fight to save the Capital Crescent Trail is absolutely not over. Unless Congress approves the $100 million in the Presidential budget and the Full Funding Grant Agreement is signed with the federal government, Maryland will not be guaranteed federal dollars and cannot afford to break ground. Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail and other non-profit public interest organizations are considering challenging the FTA’s decision in court. FCCT will energize its grass-roots base to preserve the environment and the regional treasure that is the Capital Crescent Trail. Supporters are encouraged to visit savethetrail.org to sign up for more information about the fight, donate, and sign our change.org petition.