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I have to say, Mitt looks best, Bush looks pretty good.

Bill Clinton on a bike?

Yes, but Mitt is in France in his early 20's. Everyone looks good under those conditions.

Does anyone really believe the Purple Line will get built before 2030?

The "Alternative D" that would rebuild the Air Rights Building is more realistic than I thought at first. A major reason for rejecting the alternative is that the county and state have no "quick take" authority that can force the issue fast enough to meet the proposed 2016 Purple Line construction start. But the building is aging, and the owner is reported to be interested in redeveloping it if there is more time for a thoughtful planning process.
I hope the Purple Line is not delayed. But if it is, then we should put this option back onto the table.

Regarding Michael's question, I've been wondering the same thing. Looking at an analysis of New Starts projects put together by Reconnecting America, it seems like the queue for federal funding for qualifying rail projects is decades long:

"For the 413 projects where Reconnecting America has collected cost estimates, the total estimated cost is $233 billion. If all of these were funded through the New Starts program at the current rate of federal investment in capital funding ($1.6 billion per year) assuming 50 percent federal share in projects, this would take 73 years to fund. Even the projects in the engineering and construction stage represent a 30-year queue, but will yield 1,464 miles of new transit."


Of course the federal contribution is impossible to predict. But what is the basis for the oft-repeated assertion that failure to increase the gas tax will delay the Purple Line (as opposed to forcing the state to choose between some highway projects and the Purple Line)? I am trying to distinguish whether that claim is mainly a risk that is repeated to get PG & MoCo behind the gas tax hike, or a fact that should lead people to stop viewing the Purple Line as something on the horizon. if the economy comes back, can't the general fund front or fund the state contribution?

Given the well known resistance to gas taxes, it seems incredible that MTA would move forward with a plan that was only feasible with a next tax.

@Jim T

I think the connection between the proposed gas tax and the Purple Line schedule is very real.

The MTA website shows that in Summer 2013 the Purple Line will be ready for submission for a "Record of Decision" to get approval and authorization from the federal government to proceed to construction.


To be competitive for federal support, the state application must show a solid, credible financial plan and commitment for the state to raise its share of the construction cost (approx. 50%) in time to support the construction. A promise to maybe fund it from the general fund (which would be unprecedented) IF the economy turns completely around almost immediately won't cut it, and will make the Purple Line application very non-competitive. We need a real financing plan that requires a reliable funding stream - and while a gas tax to rebuild the state Transportation Trust Fund is not the only possilbe way, it is the only way on the horizon now.

Oh, what could have been.

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