October 16, 2011
Purple Line comes with heavy price tag
(Letter the the Editor)
Washington Examiner

Dear Editor:

Re: “Purple Line gets federal OK to take next step,” Oct. 7

Your recent story about the Purple Line receiving federal approval for preliminary engineering failed to recognize an important fact: there’s no money to pay for it right now — and not likely to be.

Do we really want an $800 million annual increase to the state gas tax, a raid on future MARC funding of $135 million and a $1 billion construction subsidy from the federal government all for a light rail system estimated to carry a mere 60,000 riders each weekday in 2030, 80 percent of whom are already riding buses? I don’t.

Moreover, do we want to destroy acres of unique parkland — the Capital Crescent Trail? I strongly oppose recreating the trail as a shadeless strip of asphalt next to twin sets of railroad tracks beneath high-power electric lines. Gone forever will be the 20 acres of thousands of trees that make the trail such a natural treasure.

I encourage all readers to get the facts why the Purple Line as planned today will be an environmental and financial disaster.

Ajay Bhatt
President, Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail
Chevy Chase