1/26/12 – How Can The Purple Line Be Built With No $$$ To Pay For It? (WMAL Radio)

1/26/12
How Can The Purple Line Be Built With No $$$ To Pay For It?
WMAL Radio

Martin De Caro

Montgomery County executive Ike Leggett says he will not allocate funding to construct a Purple Line Metro connecting Bethesda and New Carrollton until the state commits to a construction timeline. Under Leggett’s six-year capital improvement budget proposal, there is no funding earmarked for the Purple Line or rebuilding the south entrance of the Bethesda Metro Station.

“The earliest that any construction would commence would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 2018,” said Leggett, who said state officials have not included the Purple Line in their five-year transportation plan. Leggett said by waiting for a state commitment Montgomery County could trim about $20 million dollars off a projected $100 million bill for the project. By allocating the funds now, however, Leggett said other projects would suffer.

“At the same time we would eliminate large numbers of projects, money that is available for schools, for roads and other things around the county,” he said.

The apparent delay in the Purple Line has left some county lawmakers concerned that the state and federal government would see no incentive for contribute to the $1.9 billion dollar project until the county makes the first move.

“If the county is the first player to say we think it should be or could be later than that, then it seems quite possible that the state and the federal government would follow suit and then delay it when they think money should be spent,” said Hans Riemer, county councilman-at-large. “Why would the state or the federal government push us to spend their money faster on our priority. Of course they wouldn’t.”