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Purple Line pros and cons detailed by MTA

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SILVER SPRING, Md. (WJLA) - The Maryland Transportation Administration released an 800-page report Thursday highlighting the pros and cons of the proposed Purple Line. The proposed light-rail system would span 16.2 miles from Bethesda to New Carrollton, but not without disrupting more than 100 homes and businesses.

The line, which will run independently of WMATA but link the rail system's Orange, Green and Red lines, will have 21 stations between Bethesda and New Carrolton. It could open by 2020.

It’s loud along Riverdale Road in Prince George’s County. Resident Allison Gillis can’t imagine the added noise from a train.

“Right now this noise doesn’t impact us because we are inside most of the time, but then with rails going on here and trains passing up and down, it’s not nice,” she says.

Gillis’ home is one of 116 buildings and three parks the MTA would demolish for the Purple Line to be built. Also on the demo list is the entire Spring Center Shopping Plaza and part of the historic Faukland apartment complex along 16th Street in Silver Spring.

“There will be noise, but in the end I think businesses and communities will benefit from that,” says Michael Madden, Purple Line planning manager.

It currently takes 92 minutes to travel by rush-hour bus from Bethesda to New Carrollton. The Purple Line would reduce that time to 63 minutes. The MTA says if no line is built, the same trek would grow to nearly two hours by 2040.

“Coming to Montgomery County and cross into Prince George’s County instead of going all the way over on the Red Line, that’s a plus,” Vessel Clark says.

The entire train would be at street level, excluding a .3 mile tunnel and three sections of elevated structure. A little over two miles would be shared with area streets.

The MTA estimates the Purple Line would see anywhere from 74,000 to 160,000 daily boardings; Bethesda and Silver Spring could see more than 13,000 daily.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement is now available for a 30-day review.

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