Video by Sean McCalley/CNS-TV
COLLEGE PARK – The Maryland Transit Administration held a public open house on Tuesday at the University of Maryland, educating local residents on the benefits the light rail system will provide when completed in 2020.
The open house was run in conjunction with Purple Line NOW!, a non-profit group that lobbies for the construction of the line to Maryland legislators and the public. Bringing along panoramic maps, videos and policy educators, Purple Line NOW! used the open house to explain the necessity of the transportation system.
“If I’m trying to get home, I have to actually transfer lines,” said Bryan Arias, a University of Maryland student. “Just by looking at one of these boards, I think my travel time will be reduced in half.”
The plan calls for twenty one stations placed from Bethesda to New Carrollton. It’s a light rail system, meaning its stops will be shorter than standard Metro platforms. The proposed size is about 200 feet.
“It will make College Park a more attractive place to live,” said Colin Phillips, a linguistics professor at the University of Maryland. “And it’ll make it more likely that people will want to live in College Park, and then have some family member commute somewhere else.”
It will be an expensive endeavor. Money might be diverted from state highway repair funds, and extra revenue might be found in the upcoming gas tax increase proposal. Purple Line NOW! may draft a pledge for Maryland legislators to sign, obligating them to consider Purple Line revenue in the gas tax legislation, according to president Ralph Bennett.
The Federal Transit Administration is also moving the project into a “Preliminary Engineering” phase, which also makes it eligible for federal funds.
Maryland Transit is inviting residents to offer their opinions, suggestions and concerns for the railway.