Purple Line gets conditional go-ahead
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) gave tentative approval to a slimmed-down version of the Purple Line, setting aside his long-standing skepticism of costly transit projects to support a 16-mile light-rail line that backers say will rejuvenate inner suburban neighborhoods in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
The announcement was a major shift for a staunch fiscal conservative who strongly opposed the Purple Line as too costly when he campaigned for governor last year. But he also showed he had not forgotten his conservative political base: Hogan simultaneously announced that he would not go forward with the Red Line lightrail project in Baltimore, which he termed a “boondoggle.”
He also said he would increase spending on roads and bridges by $1.35 billion in coming years, and he emphasized that laying highway asphalt rather than transit rail remained “our top transportation priority.”
Hogan’s go-ahead for the Purple Line came with conditions, especially a requirement that Montgomery and Prince George’s counties pick up more of the cost. They already have committed to spend more than $300 million on the project in the expectation that what they say is a badly needed east-west transit link will promote development and attract jobs.
— Robert McCartney