In Maryland, Vote for Governor is Vote Between Rail and Bus Rapid Transit Along Proposed "Purple Line"

Monday, November 01, 2010 - 05:06 PM

(Matt Bush, WAMU) In the DC metro area transit has become a key issue for many voters in the Maryland governor's race. Specifically, candidate support or opposition for a proposed extension of DC area Metro known as the Purple Line is likely to decide the votes of many in the DC suburbs.

Republican former Gov. Bob Ehrlich wants the Purple Line to be rapid buses, saying it is cheaper and more likely to receive federal funding. Incumbent Democrat Gov. Martin O'Malley wants light rail, saying, among other reasons, it is more attractive to potential businesses looking to locate in the D.C. suburbs.

That stance helped O'Malley receive the endorsement of the Greater Washington Board of Trade. "We're at capacity on certain lines already on Metrorail. When you look at buses, they fill up pretty quickly, they don't move as many people, and they don't move them as fast," says Jim Dinegar, the board's president.

A Maryland Transit Administration study also termed light rail better for the environment. But the World Resources Institute in D.C. did its own study, which says rapid buses are better. The institute's Greg Fuhs says they produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

"The primary reason being the energy source for light rail, the region covered by the Purple Line system, is heavily coal dependent," Fuhs says.

Fuhs adds many buses now run on cleaner fuels than gas and get better gas mileage. Either way, depending on what plan they support, local residents are heading to the polls knowing the man who wins the governor's race will decide between rail or bus. And that's worth voting on.

Proposed Purple Line Map


Comments [3]

Sustainability: Scie

Thought you might be interested in this SSPP Blog post "Old Bus, New Bus"

Feb. 25 2011 09:33 AM

AB, we hear that it's entirely possible that Metro could operate the Purple Line, even though it won't be building or paying for it. That's what it's doing with the rail to Dulles Airport.

Nov. 03 2010 12:10 PM

The Purple Line is NOT Metro it is a separate Maryland Transportation Administration transit system. Funding for a bike lane alongside the proposed route is NOT guaranteed and has to come from Montgomery County - there's no money!
More greenhouse gas emissions from electrical generation and
More traffic increased density and development inside the beltway.
The permanent destruction of a treasured 20 acre park inside the Beltway - the trees and wildlife gone forever.

Nov. 03 2010 12:22 AM

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