Pur­ple Line project faces more de­lays

The Washington Post Sunday - - COMMUTER -

Spring­time nests for owls and other birds prob­a­bly will pre­vent con­struc­tion from start­ing on a ma­jor seg­ment of the Pur­ple Line for an ad­di­tional five months, po­ten­tially adding more de­lays to a project al­ready seven months be­hind sched­ule.

Be­cause of de­lays caused by a pend­ing law­suit, the Mary­land Tran­sit Ad­min­is­tra­tion is about to miss a March 31 dead­line for clear­ing about 43 acres of trees, a crit­i­cal first step in build­ing the 16-mile light-rail line.

Be­gin­ning April 1, a fed­eral law that pro­tects the nests of mi­gra­tory birds will pro­hibit the MTA from cut­ting into “forested” ar­eas un­til Septem­ber — al­most a year after the line’s con­struc­tion was ini­tially sched­uled to be­gin. The sea­sonal re­stric­tion is de­signed to al­low bird eggs to hatch and chicks to ma­ture and fly off be­fore the trees hold­ing their nests are de­stroyed.

“This is ba­sic eco­nom­ics. You’re rais­ing the price. You’ll lose riders. That is a bad busi­ness move.” Metro board mem­ber Mal­colm Au­gus­tine

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