Senator Cardin

SEN. BENJAMIN CARDIN

WASHINGTON — The Democrats in Maryland’s Congressional delegation sent Gov.-elect Larry Hogan a letter Thursday, Jan. 15, expressing strong support for the Red Line transit project in Baltimore and the Purple Line project in suburban Washington.

“We write today to express our strong support for the Baltimore Red Line and Greater Washington Purple Line planned transit projects,” wrote Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski and Reps. Elijah Cummings, Steny Hoyer, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Chris Van Hollen, John Sarbanes, Donna Edwards and John Delaney.

“We know you share our commitment to strengthening Maryland’s economy and ensuring that the people of Maryland have access to infrastructure they need to excel in their lives,” the letter continued, “and we believe construction of the Red and Purple Lines is central to achieving these priorities.”

Rep. Andy Harris, the delegation’s only Republican, was the only member of the Maryland delegation to not sign the letter. Harris was attending a joint House-Senate retreat for Republicans on Thursday and could not be reached for comment.

Both projects have secured federal funding of $100 million each. Each project could also receive up to $900 million in federal funding if the state signs funding agreements for each project by the end of September, but Hogan hasn’t made any decisions about the projects yet.

“As we’ve said a hundred times, we’re not going to talk about that until I become governor,” Hogan, who takes office Jan. 21, said at a press conference Thursday afternoon in Annapolis announcing new cabinet members. “It would be ludicrous to come out now with some kind of a policy change when we’re not ready to do that.”

In his campaign for governor, Hogan questioned the expense of the mass transit projects and expressed support for highway construction.

The Red Line project consists of 14.1 miles of light rail connecting Woodlawn in the west with Johns Hopkins University’s Bayview Medical Center campus in the east. It includes stops at the West Baltimore MARC station and the Inner Harbor.

The Red Line project has a cost of $2.6 billion and is currently projected to be completed in 2022, according to the project’s website.

The Purple Line is made up of 16.2 miles of east-west light rail stretching from the New Carrollton Metro station in Prince George’s County to the Bethesda Metro station in Montgomery County, including stops at the Silver Spring and College Park Metro stations.

The Purple Line project carries a projected cost of $2.45 billion and is projected to be completed by 2020, according to the project’s website.

The Red Line is expected to create 9,000 jobs during its construction and the Purple Line is expected to create 6,300 jobs during its creation, the letter said. The Red Line is also expected to generate more than $2 billion in economic activity during the construction period.

“This is truly an historic opportunity that may never come again, and we look forward to working with you to finalize plans for the Red and Purple Lines in order to ensure that Maryland benefits from the better future these projects will create,” the Congressional Democrats wrote.

Anjali Shastry contributed to this report from Annapolis.

Follow me on Twitter @andrew_stardem.com.

(1) comment

Whyrail

The letter from Democrats in the Maryland congressional delegation is the expected thing. But there is no discussion in the article about why these lines are worth the tremendous cost. They will not significantly reduce traffic congestion and will not move the most people for the lowest cost. Construction jobs are nice for a few years, but these projects remind me of "make work" projects, much like hiring a thousand workers to dig holes and another thousand to fill them up. If these projects are built, the taxpayers of Maryland will be on the hook for debt payments and operating costs that we can't afford for decades. We need better ideas than these projects.

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