Dear Friend of the Capital Crescent Trail,Purple Line forces are converging on Annapolis on Monday because they know the project is in trouble.NOW is the time to call or email your Maryland Legislators and Governor Larry Hogan.The Governor has promised a fair review of the project. Make sure he and your legislators hear why the Purple Line is a bad idea:
1.  Montgomery County’s most recent Mobility Assessment Report does NOT place the Purple Line rail within the top 10 congestion relief needs of the County.
The MOST congested roadways are on the north-south axis (Table 5 page 26)

2.  Purple Line opponents do NOT oppose transit, they propose a win-win solution to save money and conserve a priceless natural asset in the midst of a rapidly urbanizing environment: the popular, forested Capital Crescent Trail/Georgetown Branch Trail.The Trail connects two of the most important Parks in the National Capital Region (the C&O Canal and Rock Creek Park).Why cause irreparable harm to a forested trail and 48 acres of forest that provide irreplaceable public health and environmental benefits, when there are better and less costly transit alternatives? The popular Trail should be properly conserved for bicycle and pedestrian commuting, wildlife habitat, and recreation, instead of being overrun by the costly and unsafe Purple Line.3. Save BILLIONS – don’t build rail when you can spend thousands marketing buses.

A well-documented counter-proposal to the Purple Line is more robust and flexible bus routes at a much lower cost.  Much of the projected Purple Line ridership would be diverted from existing bus routes.  A Federal Transit Administration study shows that a positive public information campaign costing only thousands of dollars would efficiently move passengers from cars to modern bus lines.

See also:
4. Hazardous materials would be dug up during Purple Line construction and pose high risks to humans and wildlife.As shown in the FEIS there are 573 sites in the Limits of Disturbance that pose serious risks, of which over 200 are thought to contain PCBs and other very hazardous materials.  The FEIS notes that some will be diluted and discharged into the stormwater system.  Such highly hazardous substances require extreme care to prevent the contamination of surrounding areas and watersheds, and in this case, Rock Creek Park. Yet plans to contain them are not specified in the Record of Decision and therefore may be shortcut by concessionaires to lower costs.
5) The volume of Stormwater runoff, from the loss of 48 acres of forest along the Purple Line and from increases in impervious surfaces like concrete, will be too massive to be contained on site, according to the Purple Line Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).Now that Montgomery County has been declared by a Maryland Court to be in violation of the Federal Clean Water Act’s stormwater requirements, when the “rain-tax” imposed by the O’Malley Administration is the subject of considerable controversy, and when local jurisdictions and private builders are wrestling with increasingly saturated soils, the Purple Line would greatly exacerbate the problem.  The Purple Line Concept Stormwater Management report admits that it would require variance after variance at dozens of discharge points along its path, as well as an estimated 27.34 acres of “offsite” mitigation.6. Questionable ridership projections and potential conflicts of interest have tainted both Federal and State decisions to build the Purple Line, according to the Wall Street Journal.
7) An Audit by the Maryland State Office of Legislative Services has uncovered questionable payments of contractors for the Purple Line–Governor Hogan and the Assembly should therefore halt any further payments re the Purple Line pending resolution of questions posed by virtue of the audit. The State audit raises legal questions about whether these irregularities rise to the level of negligence or malfeasance, and poses practical questions as to how well funding for a full Purple Line project would be managed.
8) The Army Corps of Engineers has not provided the Purple Line the Dredge and Fill Permits required under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.  Given the unresolved risks to wetlands, waters, and wildlife, the issuance of such a permit is in doubt. Without a permit, it would be unwise and fiscally irresponsible to proceed with major work on or investment in the project.9) New rules ordering Federal Agencies not to subsidize or permit building in a wider and higher flood plain than had been recognized before January 2015 need to be incorporated in Purple Line planning.  An Executive Order was just issued requiring new regulations to protect the nation’s infrastructure and the environment from increasingly intense storms, floods and hurricanes.  This is likely to affect the ability of the USDOT/FTA to subsidize projects like the Purple Line that are in and affect flood plains, such as that of Rock Creek.
10) The safer, less expensive, and more beneficial alternative to the Purple Line is to devote some of that money to higher priority projects to support productivity and quality of life in the Maryland and the National Capital Area, and not spend the rest.
In addition to fixing Metro first, which requires cooperation among more jurisdictions, there is a wiser approach that Maryland and  the affected counties can take as an alternative to the expensive, and high-risk Purple Line.  That wiser choice is a combination of:
a) An expanded fleet of nimble, quiet, clean, internet-connected buses that use existing roads and can connect with waiting passengers and coordinate traffic lights.  Such a system could be easily updated and rerouted as demands and technologies change;
b) Fee-for-use Bus Rapid Transit lanes that can serve buses and expedite commercial deliveries, emergency vehicles, and other high value traffic;
c) A modern regulatory system for Uber, Lyft, Lyft-Line, and other current and future app-driven, flexible taxi and jitney services to augment transit systems; and
d) Full and permanent Park status with both bikeway and biological integrity for the Capital Crescent Trail/Georgetown Branch Trail and its neighborhood green spaces.Please ask your legislators and Governor Hogan to oppose the Purple Line and promote these wiser solutions.
We are closer than ever to Saving The Trail. We appreciate your support.
Sincerely,

 

Ajay Bhatt
President
Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail