May 4, 2011
Montgomery County Gazette
Funding for the Purple Line a Bad Idea

Dear Editor:

Gigi Godwin gets it all wrong in The Gazette [“Gigi Godwin: Restoring the trust and the funds for transportation,” March 25] when it comes to transportation. She argues for raising taxes by $800 million a year to pay for new projects — like the “snazzy” Purple Line (County Council member Nancy Floreen’s word for it).

The sad fact is that the Purple Line planners acknowledge that the proposed light rail project hardly takes any cars off the road. These are the same planners who deep in the fine print acknowledge that the Purple Line is actually planned to be slower than the current Metro route between New Carrollton and Bethesda. Moreover, the light rail Purple Line will only add to the county’s congestion by being the foot-in-the-door for greater commercial density in currently residential areas.

Instead, let’s use the dollars we have today to fix Metro first and keep our roads in a state of good repair — before we ask people for billions of dollars for costly and poorly-considered new projects with hyped-up benefits that don’t reflect reality. And let’s continue to protect and expand open space, park land and quality of life in Montgomery County – not destroy it by urbanizing every last square foot. That’s the way to keep transportation moving.

Bill Schulz, Chevy Chase

The writer is Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail’s secretary.