Washington Post editorializes about Purple Line cockups, fails to attribute them to Larry Hogan
The Purple Line is a great lesson for me in how long projects take to achieve from conceptualization to realization.
I first read about the idea--intended at the time to be heavy rail--in December 1987, shortly after I had moved to Washington, DC, as a cover story in the Washington City Paper. 40 years later!!!! a section of it, maybe about 25% will have been built, and zero planning for extension is underway.
Given that it will take this long for one section ...
The Washington Post has an editorial, "The Purple Line is in the news again — for the usual reasons," about continued failures with the Purple Line light rail project in Montgomery and Prince George's County Maryland, which means it won't open until 2027. From the article:
As The Post’s Katherine Shaver reported, the start date for the 16-mile light-rail link between Montgomery and Prince George’s counties could slide another seven months, into mid-2027 — or about five years after the completion target of March 2022. The culprit for this latest glitch is the relocation of utility lines. ...
... when its administrators blunder through years of bad contracting and project-management decisions. Those decisions have bloated what was to be a five-year project with almost $2 billion in construction costs into a nearly 10-year, $3.4 billion undertaking. The lowlights include a shortsighted effort by former governor Larry Hogan to pinch pennies on construction costs; timeline-extending litigation from NIMBY groups and others; and a rupture in 2020 of the Purple Line’s public-private partnership in which the original construction team abandoned the project, delaying it by more than a year and adding nearly $1.5 billion in costs.
While the Post does attribute some of the delay to former Governor Hogan, it's basically his fault, although there was a lawsuit simultaneous with part of it.
Hogan threatened to shut the program down as soon as he came into office--and he did cancel a similar effort in Baltimore (which the new Governor wants to revive, 8 years later). And came up with the design-finance-build program to get some of the money to build it. But this added great complexity. And a general unwillingness by both sides to act as partners ("A Purple Line update: the downside of Public Private Partnerships" -- they are contracts, not partnerships," 2017), ended up with the original contractor bailing out, leading to even more delays.
But the Post thinks Hogan would make a decent President ("Larry Hogan won over Democrats in Maryland. Could he do it nationwide?"). When, Hogan sucked on most of the issues that matter to urbanites, especially transit (+ spending $8 million on covid tests from South Korea that didn't work).
The Post is acting like the Takoma Park resident who wrote a letter to the editor stating he'd be voting against all the politicians in office because of the failures in building the Purple Line, even though all the failures are basically the fault of the former Governor, not local elected officials, not state legislators.
-- "Takoma Park resident vows to vote against all local public officials this fall, because of the failure of the Purple Line light rail, but the failure is because of the Governor, who is termed out" (2022)