Here are excepts of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcements on the Purple Line and roads spending on Thursday:
On highway funding:
“In January, our administration inherited a state infrastructure that for years had been severely underfunded. The previous administration slashed funding for local road improvements by up to 96 percent. They also siphoned a billion dollars from the transportation trust fund, and misappropriated that money into other things that had nothing to do with transportation, putting it in the general fund, to cover increased spending in other non-transportation-related areas, while our highways continued to deteriorate and our bridges were crumbling and becoming unsafe.
“I was a chief critic of the policies of the last administration with respect to transportation in general and with respect to the transportation trust fund in particular.
“It was a major issue in the campaign last year, and it was put to the Maryland voters in November. The voters agreed with me that robbing trust funds specifically designated for road and bridge repairs is unacceptable.
“During my campaign last year and ever since, since I’d become governor, and since I was elected, I’ve made it very clear that building, maintaining and fixing Maryland’s roads and bridges is our top transportation priority and it is a top priority of our administration.
“Today we’re here to discuss the action that our administration is taking to rebuild Maryland’s infrastructure, fully fund the transportation trust fund, and restore highway user revenues needed by local governments to restore their transportation needs as well.
“First we’re announcing today the investment of nearly 2 billion dollars for improving Maryland’s highways, roads and bridges. More than 1.35 billion dollars in new funding will be added to the current 625 million already in the budget. This additional investment will be used to upgrade and preserve the state highway system. This includes repaving roads all across Maryland; fixing our bridges, improving roadways and pedestrian safety and improving traffic flow.
“250 million dollars will be invested in the milling and resurfacing of approximately 2,000 miles of state roads.
“Another 195 million will go specifically toward upgrading Maryland’s structurally deficient bridges. With this investment we will address every single structurally deficient bridge in the state.
“25 million more will address flooding and drainage issues across Maryland.
“And an added 5 million will address pedestrian safety, with the goal of reducing the number of pedestrian fatalities statewide.
“These critical investments will finally give our state highway administration the ability to repair and maintain Maryland’s road system, which has suffered from years of chronic underfunding.
“Second, we are investing an additional 845 million dollars into major new highway and bridge construction projects.
“These are badly needed projects all across the state, all of which are designated to address the needs of citizens from one end of the state to the other.
“Everyone in the state relies on Maryland’s roads. We have a responsibility to the state as a whole. And with these projects we’re investing in, we’re going to touch the daily lives of citizens across our state...
“Making sure that our roads and highways get the funding necessary to have the quality infrastructure our citizens need and expect is and will continue to be a top priority of our administration.
“These actions also represent a restoration of the money that was taken from the transportation trust fund and irresponsibly spent elsewhere.
“And we’re making sure that future administrations cannot rob from this trust fund again. This practice of siphoning money from the transportation trust fund and continuously slashing money for road improvements was irresponsible, and it will not continue.
“Historically local governments received 30 percent of the highway user revenues for their transportation funding. Under the last administration, these funds were cut by 96 percent.
“Our administration is committed to getting funding for local road improvements back to historical norms.
“We’re working on increasing contributions 2 percent a year for the next eight years and getting it back to their original high point of 30 percent.
On the Purple Line:
“With the actions that we’re taking today,and the future of our highways secure and finally appropriately funded, we can now turn our attention to other transit issues.
“Public transportation is important, but it is vital that we invest hard-earned taxpayer dollars into those projects that will help the greatest number of our citizens in our state.
“We’re not opposed to mass transit, but we do oppose wasteful and irresponsible spending on poorly conceived projects that waste taxpayers’ money. So today we’re also announcing that we will be moving forward with the Purple Line, to connect New Carrollton in Prince George’s County to Bethesda in Montgomery County.
“I’ve always said that this decision was never about whether public transit was worthwhile but whether it is affordable and makes economic sense.
“Under our more efficient and more cost effective version of the Purple Line, the state’s share of the project will be 168 million dollars, a fraction of the original proposal, which it would have cost the state close to 700 million.”
“By reducing this cost, we free up hundreds of millions of dollars for other important projects across Maryland.
“However, building the Purple Line will depend on several deliverables. First the availability of the 900 million dollars in federal funds.
“Second, as Prince George’s and Montgomery counties have the most to gain from the Purple Line, we have asked that those counties increase their investments in this project.
“And third, we will be counting on our partners in the private sector to deliver proposals that meet our new vision for the project.
“Our administration promised to chart a new course for Maryland, once where economic development and jobs are our top priority. Over the last five months, we’ve been wholly focused on making Maryland a more business-friendly and more competitive state, so that we can create more jobs and more opportunities for our citizens.
“The Purple Line is a long-term investment, that will be an important economic driver for Maryland. It will be built in a part of our state that has demonstrated strong support and use of mass transit.
“The Purple Line will integrate seamlessly with our current transit systems, combining (sic) Metro, Marc and Amtrak. Construction alone will mean 23,000 new jobs for Marylanders over the next six years. And it will be a long-term asset to our state, attracting businesses and making Maryland a better place to live, work and retire.
“Let me repeat: Our administration is not opposed to public transportation. But we are opposed to wasteful boondoggles.
“With regard to the Red Line, I can confirm today that the Red Line as currently designed is not going to be built.
“The existing light rail system in Baltimore is the second-worst in the country as far as productivity and ridership. The current proposal is not a design that meets the needs of Baltimore city. It requires the construction of a billion-dollar tunnel through the heart of the city. At 3 billion dollars, the current design fails to integrate effectively with Baltimore’s existing infrastructure.
‘I’m committed to promoting economic development in Baltimore, but the Red Line as currently proposed is not the best way to bring jobs and opportunity to the city.
“The Red Line does not effectively address the fundamental challenges that Baltimore faces. We can do better.
‘Our administration is focused on projects that serve the best interests of all Marylanders. I know there are some folks advocating both for and against the Red Line. I would ask that those individuals work with us and not against us as we look at alternatives. Working together to find common ground is always more effective than political one-upmanship in the media.
“We remain committed to the future of Maryland transportation and we will continue to find the most cost-effective ways to rebuild and improve our state’s transportation systems.”
Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn, on how he will trim costs of the project:
“The Purple Line will have the same alignment, it will have the same number of stations, and it will meet the needs of the metropolitan Washington area with its intended purpose of connecting the Marc system, Amtrack and Metro.
“The areas that we have reduced costs are areas such as reducing the headway of the cars from every six minutes to 7 1/2 minutes, which we project we’re not going to need for 12 to 15 years. That reduces the number of cars we need, it reduces the need for a second staging area for them.
“We’ve reduced a number of items out of this that, frankly, were producing a Cadillac project, and not a Chevy project.
“So we have a system that’s going to move people from where they are to where they’re going to need to go, and it’ll be a good system. But we've been able to reduce those costs, over 200 million dollars in our estimation. And with the larger share from the counties, we are looking at a reduction to the state here of well in excess of 300 million dollars.”
Hogan on whether he has considered other options for the Red Line:
“Well, look, the current proposal makes no sense whatsoever to almost anyone. It doesn’t make any economic sense at all. There are lots of different proposed solutions. We’ve already spent lots of time listening to lots of people with lots of ideas.
“Today we’re moving forward with the road improvements and with the Purple Line. The Red Line is at this point — is tabled. But we are going to look at every possible option for improving transportation in Baltimore. We’re going to be open to all kinds of suggestions.”
Rahn on alternative proposals:
“Actually I’ve heard a lot of alternatives to the Red Line...but none of the issues have been able to address the at least billion dollar tunnel at the center of this project. And that’s the fatal flaw of this project...
“This is a fatally flawed project that frankly needs to be set aside, as the governor has said, and we will look for other ways to try to assist Baltimore with its transportation needs.”
Hogan, asked if he will reveal how much he is asking Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties to pony up:
“No. We won’t.”
Hogan, on what convinced him to green-light the Purple Line:
“It was everything added together. But, finding some cost savings and being able to do it with less expense to the state taxpayers was a major factor. You know, we saw a lot of the benefits of it, with respect to economic development, job creation, and if it was still costing 700 million dollars of state taxpayers money, it probably wouldn’t have, but look, we could get the cost down overall, you know, and that was that.”
On job projections:
“I’m skeptical about some of the projections. I mean, some people just come up with wild expectations about how many jobs it’s going to create. But there’s no question in my mind that it’s going to be worthwhile long-term for the investment and the potential jobs that are being created.”
— Elizabeth Koh and Debbi Wilgoren