October 11, 2011
Purple Line under the Microscope
Washington Post

[FCCT President Ajay Bhatt responded to the recent FTA action with this letter to the editor of the Washington Post]

Dear Editor:

The Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail sees the Federal Transit Administration’s approval of the Purple Line project for the preliminary engineering phase [“Purple Line heads into engineering phase,” Metro, Oct. 8] as an opportunity to examine the project’s details. During this phase, the Maryland Transit Administration will have to get specific about the scope, budget and timeline of the project. The MTA will also have to endure the scrutiny of the National Environmental Protection Act process.

Will the project survive if the MTA insists on the Purple Line alignment through the Capital Crescent Trail? We believe that is highly unlikely. Why? The MTA will have to acknowledge the projected environmental devastation — specifically, the bulldozing of a generations-old forest ecosystem home to thousands of mature trees, providing canopy for a park enjoyed by hundreds of thousands each year.

This microscope will reveal environmental results that will surprise thousands of regional residents who have just begun to pay close attention to this issue. While there are alternatives for the alignment of the Purple Line, there is no alternative for a 20-acre park inside the Beltway.

Ajay Bhatt, Chevy Chase

The writer is president of the Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail.