A group of local developers and business leaders are banding together to convince Governor-elect Larry Hogan not to kill the Purple Line.
The group, calling itself the Economic Partners of the Purple Line, sent a letter to Hogan on Friday warning him that cancelling or delaying the 16-mile light rail “would have drastic consequences, including the loss of almost $1 billion in federal funding and approximately $170 million in state funds that have already been spent on engineering and right-of-way acquisition.”
It’s the latest appeal to Hogan to maintain the 2015 construction start date for the Purple Line, which the Anne Arundel County Republican has indicated he thinks is a waste of money.
Among the developers behind the letter include some local heavy hitters with major projects dependent on the light rail being built. The Chevy Chase Land Company, which won’t be allowed to start a substantial part of its Chevy Chase Lake redevelopment without a new Purple Line station, reportedly organized the effort.
The group argued that the project “will generate economic activity that far exceeds the initial investment of $2.45 billion in federal, state, and private dollars.”
The letter cited a 2014 study by the American Public Transportation Association, which estimated that every roughly $1 billion spent on transit generates between $3.7 billion in economic activity.
The letter follows a similar plea from Montgomery Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson and Prince George’s Planning Board Chair Elizabeth Hewlett. Earlier this month the two told Hogan that killing or delaying the Purple Line would be “a serious mistake.”
The light rail would run from Bethesda to New Carrollton, with stops in Chevy Chase Lake, Silver Spring and College Park, among other places.
The Economic Partners of the Purple Line said it would “better connect the researchers and students at the University of Maryland with the employers in Silver Spring and Bethesda — two of the state’s major job centers.”
While not indicating any solid plans for the project in the last month, Hogan has said he prefers buildings roads over building transit.
The development and business group pointed to Northern Virginia, where “business leaders successfully rallied to help secure the funding and construction of the Silver Line,” which stretches from D.C. to Tysons Corner and Reston.
“Halting this project at the eleventh hour would further undermine business confidence in Maryland — and we know this is exactly the opposite of your intention,” the letter read.
Other prominent local developers in the group include Landmark Realty (another company with a major interest in Chevy Chase Lake), The Donohoe Companies, Carr Properties, B.F. Saul Company, ProMark Real Estate, Federal Realty Investment Trust, StonebridgeCarras, The JBG Companies, Lee Development Group, EYA and the Washington Property Company.