Vote NO on the Purple Line - Transportation - Maryland | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

Vote NO on the Purple Line - Transportation - Maryland

State Action

The Honorable Lawrence J. Hogan

Governor of Maryland

100 State Circle

Annapolis, Maryland 21401


The Honorable Peter V.R. Franchot

Comptroller of Maryland

80 Calvert Street

Annapolis, Maryland 21404


The Honorable Nancy K. Kopp

Maryland State Treasurer

80 Calvert Street

Annapolis, Maryland 21404

Dear Governor Hogan, Comptroller Franchot, and Treasurer Kopp,

On behalf of the 30,027 members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) in Maryland, I urge you to vote against the public-private partnership (P3) of the proposed $4.65 billion Maryland Purple Line.

When the Purple Line was first introduced, the initial estimates were estimated at $2 billion to construct, operate, and maintain the light rail.  Since then, the costs for the Purple Line have more than doubled to $4.65 billion ($990 million for construction; and $3.66 billion for operating and maintenance).  These figures do not take into account the $447 million in additional costs outside the contract, such as off-site environmental mitigation, right-of-way acquisition, utilities, Maryland Transit Administration’s (MTA) final design reviews, and MTA’s construction oversight.  Moreover, under the P3 contract, MTA retains the risk of changes in electricity prices during the operating and maintenance phase of the contract; based on current electricity prices, this will cost MTA around $2.5 million per year.  If the Board of Public Works proceeds with a “yes” vote for the Purple Line, notwithstanding the overwhelming evidence against its viability, Maryland taxpayers will once again be on the hook for another wasteful government project.

The Purple Line will eventually lead to more taxpayer dollars being wasted for an unwise and unwarranted light rail project (the misguided biases of your Secretary of Transportation notwithstanding), when Maryland’s bridges, roads, MARC Trains, and Metro are all in dire need of improvements.  In addition to the $225.2 million need for planning, engineering, and right-of-way acquisition, public contributions for the construction of the Purple Line total $1.4 billion; $933 million federal; $160 million state; $210 million Montgomery County; and $120 million Prince George’s County.  More importantly, this does not take into consideration that taxpayers in Montgomery County will be left footing the bill when the associated improvements (the Bethesda Metro Red Line Station South Entrance, the Capital Crescent Trail, the Silver Spring Green Trail, and conduit/fiber for the county) exceed the $170 million threshold. 

It is understandable that the State of Maryland is focused on improving the state’s infrastructure in order to better accommodate the commuter traffic in the DC Metro area. However, with an estimated cost-per-passenger of $63,431.00 and outrageously unrealistic ridership projections at 2.5 times greater than 31 of the 32 light rail systems in the US, the burden imposed by the Purple Line far exceeds the logical notion of a dire transportation necessity.

The Purple Line will not only impede future transportation improvements, but it would also undermine the funds available in the State of Maryland’s Transportation Trust Fund.

Governor Hogan, I urge you to demonstrate the same courage that you displayed during your campaign and stand against the Purple Line by voting “no” during the Board of Public Works hearing on April 6, 2016.  I urge Comptroller Franchot and Treasurer Kopp to follow suit.  Thank you for your consideration of CCAGW’s position on this important issue.


Tom Schatz

President, CCAGW

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