Purple Line protesters rally against new rail line

- Opponents of the Purple Line held a rally in Bethesda on Monday where they announced a new legal challenge for the project.

Cyclists, runners and neighbors came out in force at Elm Street Park to express their displeasure over the immediate closure of the very popular Capital Crescent Trail. The park could be closed for up to five years.

RELATED: Purple Line construction to cause Georgetown Branch Trail to close

One man said he was willing to risk arrest to attempt to block the move.

"Because I think it's that important for our community,” Gary Repp told FOX 5. “They are talking about cutting down thousands of trees and putting in a concrete path through here between Silver Spring and Bethesda. It's just going to be a highway."

Many protesters said they were infuriated over the short notice and an alternative route that pushes trail users out and onto the very busy Jones Bridge Road.

"This Purple Line reads like the cliche from a movie about greedy developers, crooked politicians and the potential loss of a beloved park,” Ajay Bhatt with Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail said as the crowd cheered.

The Purple Line has been the subject of an on-going legal fight in federal court, which is a battle opponents of the line say they have not given up on.

"Yesterday, we filed a new complaint in District court that we hope to address," attorney John Fitzgerald announced to the crowd. "Tomorrow, we are filing a motion for a temporary restraining order that will focus on three violations of law that this thing has brought us today."

RELATED: Federal court ruling enables Purple Line to move ahead

Recently, Gov. Larry Hogan and U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao signed a funding agreement for the 16 mile-long rail line that officials say will produce 6,000 construction jobs and would connect Bethesda with Prince George's County, MARC and Amtrak.

Hogan said the $5.6 billion public-private project was a big win for the state and a major benefit for the region.

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