• Hogan Takes Ax To State Funding For Purple Line

    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday he would approve a scaled-down light-rail line in the D.C. suburbs, but nixed a similar project in Baltimore.

    The 16-mile Purple Line will connect areas of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties to the D.C. Metro system at a projected cost of about $2.45 billion, while the now-cancelled Red Line across Baltimore would have cost roughly $2.9 billion, The Baltimore Sun reports.

    Hogan campaigned against both projects while running for governor as a Republican last year, but changed his mind about the Purple Line after the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) found a way to reduce the state’s share of the cost from nearly $700 million to a more-manageable $168 million, according to a press release(RELATED: Maryland Shocker: Republican Larry Hogan Beats the O’Malley Machine)

    “I have always said this decision was never about whether public transit was worthwhile, but whether it is affordable and makes sense,” Hogan said. “In reducing costs here, hundreds of millions of dollars will become available for other important projects.”

    Under Hogan’s plan, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties would increase their contribution to the project, which had previously been a little over $300 million. Other savings would come from running fewer trains and cutting one of two planned staging areas.

    “We are not opposed to public transportation. We are opposed to wasteful boondoggles,” Hogan said by way of explanation for his decision to approve one project but not the other. (RELATED: Maryland Gov. Balks at ‘Unacceptable’ Cost of Purple Line)

    “The Purple Line is a long-term investment that will be an important economic driver for our state,” he asserted, whereas “The Red Line as currently proposed is not the best way to bring jobs and opportunity to the city.”

    Democratic Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, however, disagrees with Hogan’s assessment, saying in a press release that she was “disheartened” by the cancellation of the Red Line.

    “Although the Governor has promised to support economic growth in Baltimore,” she complained, “he cancelled a project that would have expanded economic development, created thousands of jobs, increased access to thousands more, and offered residents better health care, childcare, and educational opportunities.” (RELATED: High Cost, Safety Concerns Threaten DC Streetcar Project)

    On the other hand, Hogan spokesman Matt Clarke told The Sun cancelling the Red Line allowed Hogan to increase funding for Baltimore roads by $392 million over the next six years—money the city could use to pursue alternative solutions to its traffic troubles.

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