Activists Call To Increase Purple Line Fund

Purple Line Now wants to raise the gas tax to help replenish the fund.


The Purple Line activist group in Silver Spring in support of the proposed line, is calling on Maryland legislators to raise the gas tax during its July special session so that the line that will link Montgomery and Prince George's counties will be able to proceed.

Purple Line Now, a nonprofit organization formed in 2002, proposed a gas tax hike to help replenish the transporation trust fund.

"Maryland motorists have been getting a cheaper and cheaper ride since 1992, the last time the gas tax was raised," Purple Line Now member Ralph Bennett said. "Gas prices have fallen 60 cents since April - now is the time to add a small amount to the price of gas to fund the transit projects and roads all Marylanders need."

Funding the Purple Line will affect more people than working on gambling legislation during the special session, according to the letter from Purple Line Now.

"At the top of the state's priority list is an unsustainable shortfall in transportation funding which cannot be ignored any longer," the letter reads. "The failure to act on this matter will have catastrophic economic ramifications for each of the state's 24 jurisdictions and every resident of our Free State."

The letter also included signatures from Red Line Now, Action Committee for Transit, Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance and Corridor Cities Transitway Coalition.

jag June 19, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Don't see it happening, but if the gas tax is finally raised PLEASE peg it to inflation, like it should have been from the start. Otherwise, in 10 or 20 years we'll once again have the pleasure of listening to people who don't understand basic economics whine about the tax being readjusted.
Woodside Park Bob June 20, 2012 at 05:11 PM
JAG is right. If the gas tax is raised, it ought to be tied to inflation so it increases automatically with road construction and maintenance costs. And all of the increase should go to roads, not transit or the Purple Line. Transit already gets a disproportionate share of transportation revenue in comparison to the number of people who use it. We need system-wide improvements, not expensive transit projects that will primarily benefit only the people who live near them.
jag June 20, 2012 at 05:47 PM
The opposing argument would be that transit lines, especially heavy and light rail, can add greatly to surrounding property values/be huge economic engines ("can" being the operative word). That should be considered as well when determining the allocation of resources. "[E]xpensive transit projects that will primarily benefit only the people who live near them" is the case in some ways, but all too commonly we see people choosing to live out in third ring suburbs and commute to DC via single-occupancy vehicles (or commute to DTSS, which owes its economic success and jobs to the Redline and the B&O line before that). Taking people off the road who, e.g., live in Woodside (or ESSCA, in my case) by giving them the Redline benefits the far-flung commuter by taking that Silver Spring car out of traffic just as much as it benefits the Silver Springer who uses the public transportation to avoid the traffic caused by people commuting from far-flung places.


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