County executive says controversial move still needs more time
After some members of the County Council said the County 5- cent tax on plastic and paper bags is not working to reduce bags, County Executive Ike Leggett said the fee needs more time
After the fee passed in 2011 to reduce the number of bags that end up littering the County’s streets and streams, the number of bags distributed at stores has actually increased since it became effective in 2012.
According to County statistics, the number of bags distributed at County stores averaged 4,340,438 a month in fiscal year 2012. In fiscal year 2017, the average has increased to 5,532,770 a month. Both averages were taken over five-month periods.
“I think it is having an impact, maybe not the impact we anticipated,” Leggett said of the bag tax.
Council member Roger Berliner (D-1) said Leon’s ruling to allow the Federal Transit Administration to decide the significance of Metro ridership brings him new hope.
He said he is confident the end of the Purple Line hiatus is near.
Berliner said he believes there is no turning back after the judge’s order Nov. 22. He ordered the FTA to assess Metro’s ridership and safety issues and determine whether either will harm the Purple Line project. From there, FTA and the Maryland Transit Administration would determine whether they need to write a new environmental impact statement pertaining to Metro’s impact on the project.
“By opening the record and allowing the agencies to show him why they don’t think this Metro issue is relevant, he (Leon) will no longer be able to say they were arbitrary and capricious,” Berliner said. “He can only say, ‘I don’t agree but under the law, I can’t substitute my judgment for the agencies, therefore we’re done here.’”
Work crews started testing soil in southern Montgomery County along the proposed path of the Purple Line Tuesday, a process expected to continue for several months.
The work began shortly after District of Columbia District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled construction-related work must be stopped until the state of Maryland re-evaluates and updates Metro ridership following recent safety problems.
A District Court judge ruled in a federal case that workers cannot continue construction related to the Purple Line until the state of Maryland re-evaluates Metro ridership following recent safety issues.
Richard Leon, District of Columbia District Court judge, said in the case of Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail et al. Vs. Federal Transit Administration et al., the Maryland Transit Administration needs to update Metro ridership measurements because those used to calculate Purple Line ridership projections were collected in 2009, after which Metro ridership decreased.