Speakers at a public hearing last night in Prince George's County heartily supported a proposed Metro line into the south of the county, ending at Branch Avenue. Opposing speakers, outnumbered more than 4 to 1, favored a route ending farther west, at Rosecroft Raceway.
The hearing, attended by about 200 persons, was held in Hillcrest Heights, about halfway between the two alternative routes. The hearing is the first step toward restarting work on the Green Line, which was halted three months ago on orders of a U.S. judge. The judge ruled that Metro made procedural errors several years ago when it routed the Green Line to Rosecroft instead of to Branch Avenue, where a 1968 master plan showed it. The judge ordered Metro to follow the original plan or hold new hearings.
Del. Lorraine M. Sheehan (D) said Metro statistics favoring Rosecroft were incorrect and based on starting new bus lines to bring commuters from the Branch Avenue area to the Metro line. Metro officials have "a lot of gall" to come to up with inflated ridership figures, she said.
Paul J. Melucas of the Camp Springs Citizens Association argued that far more people work along the Branch Avenue route than along the Rosecroft alignment. "The Metro board must be out of its collective mind," he said, to build a subway into an area of "limited population."
But Ella E. Ennis, a Republican candidate for the County Council from Fort Washington, which is nearer the Rosecroft line, said the route would have higher ridership, which would offset bus line costs. "If you listen to the Branch Avenue people, you'd think we have nothing but farms down here," she said.
Most speakers at a similar hearing in Southeast Washington Tuesday supported alignment that ends at Rosecroft.