- A spokesman for the $5.6 billion, 16-mile Purple Line light-rail project now underway in Montgomery County, Maryland, has given residents fair warning — the next four years of construction activity could be loud and "intrusive," according to WTOP.
- Purple Line Transit Partners' John Undeland said construction will be taking place "cheek to jowl" with neighborhoods during the entire project and that residents along the rail line's route between New Carrollton, Maryland, and Bethesda, Maryland, can expect to experience "significant impacts." In addition to the noise and traffic that a typical construction site generates, some locals can expect additional noise, vibrations and other effects from the drilling and potential blasting necessary to build a one-third-mile-long tunnel that will serve as the line's midway point. To lessen the impact of construction, crews have erected sound walls and retaining walls in some areas along Purple Line's path. Adding to the "pain" could be the development that is expected to spring up around the rail's new stations.
- Purple Line construction crews are trying to make up time after the project was delayed about a year because of a lawsuit brought by local activists, but Undeland said that legal issues should not interfere with future progress. The first light-rail tests could happen as early as 2020, and the full line is expected to be operational by 2022. Purple Line Transit Constructors, comprised of Fluor Corp., The Lane Construction Corp. and Traylor Bros., is building the rail line, and construction costs are estimated at around $2 billion.
For many, the temporary pain of construction would be worth it if it results in a reliable, alternative means of transportation. State and local agencies are increasingly interested in shifting their automobile-driving populations over to mass transit in an effort to reduce pollution and congestion on their roadways, but this also plays into the desire of some demographics, especially millennials and baby boomers, for a more urban and convenient style of living.
Large companies also often prioritize a robust mass transit system when scouting potential locations for corporate offices. In fact, as part of its site search for a $5 billion, second North American headquarters dubbed "HQ2," the company has listed mass transit as something the future city must have. Montgomery County, Maryland, home to the future Purple Line, is in the running for Amazon's new corporate campus.
It's easy to see why this would be of utmost importance for Amazon. The company values its culture and has expressed a desire to give employees a nice place to live, not just a great place to work, according to Inc. In addition, Amazon came under fire in Seattle for its infrastructure- and transportation-straining growth, so it will likely opt for a region that has mass transit covered this time around.