- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Plans to build a Purple Line train connecting Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland are on track politically after the Montgomery County Council voted yesterday to support Gov. Parris N. Glendening's preferred route.
The 7-2 vote came a day after Mr. Glendening's recommendation to build a light-rail Purple Line inside the Beltway. The line would run from Bethesda through Silver Spring and out to Langley Park and Riverdale.
Council member Derick Berlage said it was rare in his career to vote on something that met three key criteria.
"It is the smart thing to do, the right thing to do and the less-expensive thing to do," said Mr. Berlage, Silver Spring Democrat.
"The issue that for some this is a primary means of transit, not secondary, should not be lost in this debate."
The debate over the Purple Line has been heated and divisive.
The Montgomery County Planning Board supports the inside-the-Beltway line. But County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, a Democrat, favors a traditional Metrorail line outside the Beltway, connecting the New Carrollton Metro station through Greenbelt, Wheaton and Grosvenor to Rock Spring Park.
While the line is still 10 to 20 years away, those who support the Democratic governor's plan are already celebrating.
"It will connect the flagship university of the state with biotechnology centers like NIH and Walter Reed," said Web Smedley, a project manager at the University of Maryland.
Harry Sanders, a community activist from Silver Spring, has fought for a Purple Line for seven years and says the council vote will help with federal funding.
But Ken Reid, co-chairman of the Campaign to Reform an Absurd Purple Line, says more roads are needed to ease congestion. He believes this plan will divert funds from a proposed Techway or Inter-County Connector.
"The Purple Line is conning the voters into thinking they're doing something about congestion relief," Mr. Reid said.
Council members Isaiah Leggett, at-large Democrat, and Howard Denis, Bethesda Republican, voted against backing the governor's plan.
"If we had the Inter-County Connector now, it would change the debate," Mr. Denis said.
Council Chairman Blair Ewing said he decided to back an inner-Beltway line because he wanted something done to ease traffic.
"If we're going to get anything, it's going to be for the inner line," Mr. Ewing, at-large Democrat, said. "The cost per additional rider for the outer line is way, way, way higher."

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