O'Malley promotes Purple Line in Bethesda Metro visit
Governor says area project remains co-equal with proposed Baltimore Red Line
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To encourage support for the Purple Line, Gov. Martin O'Malley visited commuters on Metro's Red Line on Tuesday morning.
O'Malley (D) stood between escalators at the Bethesda Metro station, handing out fliers for his re-election campaign and chatting with riders. His announced reason for visiting the station was to promote the Purple Line light rail, a 16-mile, nearly $1.7 billion project that would connect Bethesda to New Carrollton via Silver Spring.
A year ago, O'Malley approved the proposal for the Purple Line for federal funding. He also approved the Baltimore Red Line, a 14-mile, light-rail project estimated to cost $1.6 billion.
Asked Tuesday morning if either he or the federal government has ranked one project ahead of the other, O'Malley said no. He did, however, say the Purple Line is projected to have higher ridership initially, while the Red Line could guide long-term growth in the Baltimore area.
"Until the federal government tells us otherwise, we believe that both are worthy projects, and both of them are needed," O'Malley said.
O'Malley also appeared to take in stride the possibility that some Purple Line opponents in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase area might not vote for him. The Town of Chevy Chase has discussed filing a lawsuit for the state to restudy the project.
"There's always the political price that's paid over the short term," O'Malley said.