We put the Metro F Route in the right place. The Prince George's County Council members voted to advise the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority that they recommended the A1 (Rosecroft) alignment as a part of the 101-mile Metro subway system. If we had voted the other way, and selected the B1 (Branch Avenue) alternative, we also would have been placing it in the right place -- because clearly, both alignments serve southern Prince George's County well.
Both routes have good ridership characteristics. While the Branch Avenue line serves that densely populated corridor and the Suitland Center, the Rosecroft alignment serves the densely populated Indian Head Highway corridor and enjoys the advantage of large areas of developable land.
The truth is that the county council originally voted to build both alignments, but, pressed to make a single selection, chose the Rosecroft alignment to be built first and the Branch Avenue alignment to be built as an extension. This means that the Branch Avenue route will be delayed, but can be built following the completion of the entire 101-mile system.
Why did the council choose the Rosecroft alignment?
* The Rosecroft line will cost about $3 million less annually to operate.
* When the District of Columbia made its decision to go with an alignment through St. Elizabeths, Prince George's County was faced with the prospect of building either a longer, more expensive line or a shorter straighter, less expensive line. We chose the Rosecroft alignment, which will cost about $39 million less.
* The Branch Avenue alignment would require one more eight-car train to operate. This would require the purchase of 10 additional rail cars at a cost of $7 million.
* In the future, it will be easier to build an extension to the Rosecroft alignment.
* The Rosecroft alignment provides better geographical distribution. Moreover, with the extension of the line to Branch Avenue, following the completion of the system, the entire south county will be served by the rapid rail and feeder bus network.
* The latest complicating factor in this issue is the attitude of the Reagan administration regarding Metro financing. It is reasonable to say that if we don't get under way very soon, we risk losing any rail transit line in southern Prince George's County. So, in reality, the question of having or not having the southern Prince George's route is an issue that must be settled now, or we may get no rail line in the foreseeable future.
Other reasons for this decision come to mind, but these will suffice to point out some of the key factors in the council's decision. We made the best decision under the circumstances.
We accept the fact that reasonable people may differ with that decision. I would say to the Branch Avenue advocates: Let's build the Rosecroft line now, because the sooner it is completed, the sooner the Branch Avenue line will be completed.