MTA Purple Line Bethesda - New Carrollton Light Rail

Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.

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Sand Box John
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Re: Washington Metro Purple line

Post by Sand Box John »

"afiggatt"

The 1959 Highway plan would have carved up DC like a turkey. The later Inner Beltway plan was hardly any better. Thanks for the link.


You are welcome.

In the late 1960s, circumferential heavy or light rail lines would have made little sense. The Beltway was new and the major population and job centers were still in or close to DC, well inside the Beltway. Now that the Beltway gets overloaded at rush hour, time for light rail lines to add transit options. Or pass time, because the Purple Line should have started construction 10 years ago.

I happen to disagree with that logic. Most of the trip using the Capitol Beltway originate and or terminate at destination miles from the Capitol Beltway. The vast majority of those trip would require at minimum a 3 seat ride. The only people that can take advantage of a Purple Line transit option are the folks heading to or from destination within close proximity of that line and or the lines that cross it.
John in the sand box of Maryland's eastern shore.

Greg Moore
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Re: Washington Metro Purple line

Post by Greg Moore »

Thanks. Could have sworn I saw something very preliminary about such a circumferential plan, but never found details. Guess it was just faulty memory.
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afiggatt
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Re: Washington Metro Purple line

Post by afiggatt »

With $280 million now in place for the Purple Line project for property acquisition and final design, Maryland is starting the process of buying up the properties and land they need. Wash Post article: Purple Line plans soon could displace businesses, residents. The article mostly focuses on a strip mall that is going to be brought out. I don't have that much sympathy to be honest, because strip malls come and go anyway. A developer or REIT could buy the strip mall, not renew the leases so they can convert the mall for new upscale stores, replace it with an office building, whatever, and the businesses in the strip mall will be on their own to find new locations. With the state buying out the mall using eminent domain, the state provides relocation assistance, and in this case, at least 2 years advance notice.

Anyway, excerpts from the Post article:
Construction of a light-rail Purple Line through the Maryland suburbs is at least two years away, and there is no money yet to pay for it, but the state’s transit proposal soon could close Dario Orellana’s Silver Spring restaurant.

El Aguila, which has served Salvadoran and Tex-Mex food for 14 years from the Spring Center strip mall on 16th Street, lies in the path of the planned 16-mile route between Bethesda and New Carrollton. Orellana said a state official recently told him that the Maryland Transit Administration will begin buying the shopping center just north of East West Highway as early as September, when the state expects a Purple Line to receive federal environmental approval.
...
Maryland transit officials confirmed that they do, indeed, plan to begin buying private property for the project this fall, and those right-of-way costs are estimated at $200 million.
I disagree with the "there is no money yet to pay for it" line in the Post article. The state is providing $280 million to initiate the project, how is that "no money"? A major reason for the state gas tax increase was to provide state funds for the Purple and Baltimore Red Line project. The only remaining substantial funding questions are how long will it take to get the Federal funds approved & in place and how much private investments from developers MD can get to defray the total costs.

afiggatt
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Re: Washington Metro Purple line

Post by afiggatt »

The Purple Line has been in the news with Gov. O'Malley announcing the commitment of $400 million in state funds for construction and the intent to see a private partnership arrangement for a private company to design, build and operate the Purple Line under a 30 to 40 year contract. The private company pays for part of the construction costs in return for a long term contract with payments from the state.

Washington Post preview article on the Monday announcement: Maryland to seek private firm for Purple Line project.

MD Press release on the announcement which also covers a bunch of local transportation projects.

The Purple Line now has $680 million in new state funding commitments for about 1/3 of the projected $2.2 billion total cost. Still a number of hurdles to clear to get the official Record of Decision from the FTA (just a formality I think at this point), a New Starts federal funding agreement (project should readily qualify, but the New Starts budget levels in future years could be a problem given the situation on the Hill), and selecting & reaching an agreement with a private operator to build and run the system.

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JDC
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Re: Washington Metro Purple line

Post by JDC »

Nice post in the Gazette with a map of the route and photos of all of the stops. See http://www.gazette.net/section/purpleline#
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Robert Paniagua
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Re: Washington Metro Purple line

Post by Robert Paniagua »

Just saw the map, its really impressive, I hope they get to work on it soon
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Sand Box John
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Re: Washington Metro Purple line

Post by Sand Box John »

Here's a monkey wrench that might muck things up:

Purple Line’s obscure obstacle: The endangered Hay’s Spring amphipod
Katherine Shaver
11 29 2013
Washington Post
John in the sand box of Maryland's eastern shore.

afiggatt
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Re: Washington Metro Purple line

Post by afiggatt »

Several recent news items in the Washington Post on the Purple Line project which has been proceeding with the FEIS.

Six teams compete to build, operate light-rail Purple Line in public-private partnership.
Six teams of private companies have begun to compete for a long-term contract to design, build, operate and help pay for a light-rail Purple Line in the Maryland suburbs, state officials said Wednesday.

The companies met a deadline Tuesday to submit a “Statement of Qualifications” detailing their ability to carry out such a contract on a 16-mile rail line planned between Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
Montgomery officials urge pharmacist trade group to raze building for Purple Line station
The design of a future Purple Line station in Bethesda rests with a group of people who might never ride the proposed light-rail line: 40,000 pharmacists from across the United States.

Montgomery County planners are trying to persuade a reluctant American Society of Health-System Pharmacists to tear down and rebuild the trade group’s office building that sits atop the proposed station site near Wisconsin Avenue and Elm Street. A new building, local planners say, would allow for a more spacious station platform in a tunnel beneath it, as well as a separate tunnel that would let joggers and cyclists on the Capital Crescent Trail cross beneath busy Wisconsin Avenue. Elevators that would connect the street-level Purple Line with Metro’s underground Red Line also could be better located, planners say.
Coming to a decision and deal on the station in Bethesda is something the county and state should have settled earlier as this could delay the project.

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Sand Box John
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Re: Washington Metro Purple line

Post by Sand Box John »

"afiggatt"

Coming to a decision and deal on the station in Bethesda is something the county and state should have settled earlier as this could delay the project.


The state and county don't want to resort to eminent domain to get their way. Making a deal on this property is far cheaper to the government then resorting to eminent domain.

Frankly what I think the project designers should do is rebuild the bridge over the right of way from property line to property line to widen the right of way to accommodate both the station and the trail. They can make a deal with both the pharmacists and the owner of the Air Right Building to widen bridge on their properties from the property line to the building foundations to increase the length a couple dozen feet as well. Put the entrance elevators to the Light Rail and Metrorail station on the east side of Wisconsin Avenue instead of on the west side because there is more room between Air Right Building and the curb then there is between the pharmacist building and the curb.
John in the sand box of Maryland's eastern shore.

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JDC
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Re: Washington Metro Purple line

Post by JDC »

Per WashPo piece, "Maryland chooses four companies to bid on Purple Line." http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dr- ... rple-line/

"Four teams of private companies have been chosen to compete for a public-private partnership to design, build, operate, maintain and help finance construction of a $2.2-billion light-rail Purple Line in the Maryland suburbs, state officials said Wednesday."

The 'short-listed' teams selected to submit bids: Maryland Purple Line Partners (comprised of Vinci Concessions, Walsh Investors, InfraRed Capital Partners, Alstom Transport and Keolis); Maryland Transit Connectors (comprised of John Laing, Kiewit Development and Edgemoor Infrastructure); Purple Line Transit Partners (comprised of Meridiam Infrastructure, Fluor Enterprises and Star America Fund); and Purple Plus Alliance (comprised of Macquarie Capital and Skanska Infrastructure Development).
Living in Springfield, VA; Working at Half & L, DC.

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JDC
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Re: Washington Metro Purple line

Post by JDC »

In new WashPost piece, the news is that MD transportation planners have decided to build a station at Dale Drive, whereas previously that site was a planned station to be built when there was community support for it. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dr- ... cials-say/
Living in Springfield, VA; Working at Half & L, DC.

afiggatt
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Re: Washington Metro Purple line

Post by afiggatt »

There is good news for the Purple Line in that there is $100 million for it in the Administration's proposed FY2015 budget and the FTA is recommending it for a Full Funding Grant Agreement. The budget also has $100 million for the Baltimore Red Line. Washington Post: Agency recommends federal funding to build light-rail Purple Line in Maryland. The article, of course, includes mention of the opponents and the Hay's Spring amphipod, although the only remaining opposition that I see that could delay the project is Chevy Chase because they can afford to waste money on lobbyists and lawyers.

The not so good news is that the projected cost of the Purple Line has increased by $220 million to a total of $2.37 billion. Washington Post:
Estimated cost of building light-rail Purple Line increases by $220 million.
The estimated cost of building a light-rail Purple Line between Montgomery and Prince George’s counties has risen by $220 million, bringing the project’s total price tag to $2.37 billion, according to a federal report released Wednesday.

The increase is due primarily to including project financing costs and additional real estate expenses from a larger number of properties that must be acquired for right of way, according to a Federal Transit Administration report.

realtype
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Re: Washington Metro Purple line

Post by realtype »

The FTA has issued a Record of Decision for the Purple Line ending a 2-year EIS process: http://www.purplelinemd.com/en/about-th ... f-decision

This announcement comes on the heels of the FTA including Purple Line funding in its FY2014 budget and recommending long-term funding.

afiggatt
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Re: Washington Metro Purple line

Post by afiggatt »

Came across this favorable column on the Purple Line by the Railway Age managing editor: Purple Line LRT: Suburban harbinger. I don't personally see the Purple Line as national transit game changer, but it will be a significant expansion of the reach of the DC Metro transit system.

Start of his column:
Even rail supporters often overlook the importance of Maryland's proposed 16-mile Purple Line to future U.S. development, efficiency, competitiveness, lifestyle. I see it as a game changer.

The light rail transit (LRT) project seems basic enough, in some ways, running roughly east-west and spanning Washington, D.C.'s northern Maryland suburbs. And there's the key: It runs through and serves suburbs first if not foremost, an arrangement that should (but often doesn't) spark curiosity even among pro-rail folk.

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Sand Box John
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Re: Washington Metro Purple line

Post by Sand Box John »

"afiggatt"
Came across this favorable column on the Purple Line by the Railway Age managing editor: Purple Line LRT: Suburban harbinger. I don't personally see the Purple Line as national transit game changer, but it will be a significant expansion of the reach of the DC Metro transit system.


I am going to go out on a limb and predict that the Purple line will end up being suburban Washington's version of Baltimore's White Snail, as it will not reduce trip times between points along the corridor for both transit and non transit users.
John in the sand box of Maryland's eastern shore.

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