COLLEGE PARK – State government officials and University of Maryland student leaders believe the future of the Purple Line is brighter following the election of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama as president.
In a meeting at the University of Maryland, College Park campus hosted by the “Terps for the Purple Line” student coalition, which is comprised of several major student organizations, proponents of the Purple Line were optimistic about receiving federal funding for the project under an Obama administration.
“I think that it is our time to say to President-elect Obama that we are behind him as a youth vote, we are behind him in supporting mass transit and we are behind him on the Purple Line,” said Student Government Association President Jonathan Sachs. “We want to make sure he prioritizes that because it is such a great issue and an encompassing issue.”
The proposed 16-mile transit line would connect Metro lines across Prince George-s and Montgomery counties, including a stop at the University of Maryland.
Pumping money into infrastructure projects could be one way the Obama administration and the new Congress go about creating jobs in a foundering economy.
On his web site, http://www.barackobama.com, Obama pledges to “re-commit federal resources to public mass transportation projects across the country.”
Maryland Transportation Secretary John Porcari was optimistic that an Obama presidency will be good for Purple Line funding.
“We are confident we will compete successfully for federal funding for up to 50 percent of it,” said Porcari. “If you look at the history of transportation projects in the state where there is a consensus and where our elected officials are strongly behind it, we find the funding for it.”
Advocates of the Purple Line are hopeful that Obama will make good on his campaign promise.
“We also want to see green and sustainable transit, and he said we want to be energy independent in 10 years,” said Sachs. “This is part of that goal, and we want to help him achieve it. We need federal funds to do that, and we want to make sure that he keeps good on his prioritization of this, and I believe that he will.”