Post: Another Purple One Passing

The Purple Line may be a on a path to nowhere, opines the editorial board of The Washington PostBetween the last-minute setback last summer by the U.S. District Court, which postponed project implementation to require federal transit officials to reexamine ridership data, and the Trump Administration’s apparent reluctance to invest in transit, it seems the line may be grasping for a lifeline.

From the editorial:

After a quarter-century of planning, several hundred million dollars in public money, scores of public hearings and endless studies, the Purple Line, one of the Washington area’s most important transit projects, may be facing extinction. If that happens, it would be a testament to dysfunction, inertia and judicial negligence. …

With every passing day, the Purple Line’s prospects are dimming. The federal funding agreement frozen in August by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon was the project’s linchpin; without it, a multibillion-dollar public-private partnership cannot go forward, and investors who were ready to start building are stuck.

Without a green light now from Mr. Leon, it may be all but impossible to revive the federal funding agreement for the foreseeable future. That’s because the Trump administration has proposed halting all cash for transit projects that lack signed funding agreements, starting almost immediately and lasting for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Beyond that, there is no sign that the Trump administration is interested in improving the United States’ transit networks. To the contrary, the administration’s current stance suggests indifference toward transportation projects that don’t serve automobiles. …

Fundamentally, the Purple Line makes sense as a transportation link for tens of thousands of daily riders who head to Bethesda, Silver Spring and College Park every workday. It makes sense as an economic catalyst for the region, which is why it has attracted significant private funding. Without the federal contribution, the Purple Line is dead, and so is a cornerstone of rational urban planning in the national capital region.