A Republican leader in the Maryland Senate says taxpayers in Montgomery and Baltimore counties should pay for the state's billion-dollar light rail projects there, instead of sharing the costs with rural counties.
"If people in Montgomery County want a Purple Line, let them pay for it," said state Senate Minority Whip E.J. Pipkin, of the Eastern Shore. The projects are costing the state a combined $3.4 billion.
Pipkin said he is drafting legislation that would create an independent taxing authority in each county to collect revenues for the planned Purple and Red lines.
"If you live, as I do, in a rural area, you don't share those hopes and dreams of mass transit as you have in the urban areas," Pipkin said Monday during a panel discussion on the state of Maryland's economy and infrastructure. He said the state's rural counties have other transportation needs that aren't being met by the dwindling pot of state transportation dollars for road and bridge repair.
Pipkin said a growing number of lawmakers — though he would not say how many — in the House and Senate are throwing their support behind the legislation, which has not been introduced in Annapolis.