Court Ruling Could Be a Final Setback for Maryland Purple Line Extension

A recent ruling by a U.S. district court could be a deathblow for the 16-mile Purple Line extension into Maryland, as well as for transit planning in general.
May 23, 2017, 12pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Maryland Transit Administration

Jonathan Neeley reports on what could be "the final blow" for the Purple Line in Maryland, after U.S. District Judge Richard Leon issued another ruling that the line can't move forward without further study.

The new ruling follows an August 2016 ruling by the same judge that revoked environmental approval for the Purple Line on the basis that "there had not been sufficient study of how declining Metro ridership might affect the light rail line."

"Maryland officials say that if they don’t have their environmental approval restored by June 1, they will have to wind down planning and design work that has already started," reports Neeley, about the potential catastrophic consequences of the ruling for the planned light rail line. "On top of that, the state would lose $125 million in federal money for construction if this isn’t resolved by the fall."

The ruling also throws other transit planning efforts in the region into question if they rely on the same ridership models as the Purple Line. "Opponents of a project could point to this ruling and say the numbers are wrong," explains Neeley.

Katherine Shaver and Spencer S. Hsu also reported on the court ruling for The Washington Post. That article adds this additional bit of information about the consequences of the ruling: "The decision by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon also greatly jeopardizes the project’s chances at $900 million in federal con struction [sic] grants and threatens a $5.6 billion public-private partnership." 

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Published on Monday, May 22, 2017 in Greater Greater Washington
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