The Montgomery County Civic Federation, Inc., on May 18 awarded its 2018 Wayne Goldstein Award to the Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail for “striking a blow” for the public interest and for green space, transparency, and accountability.

“Developers and agency bureaucrats and their consultants know how to play the development game and pursue their own agendas instead of the public interest, and it takes a tenacious community of citizens to expose that,” said Jim Zepp, President of the Montgomery County Civic Federation, Inc.  “Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail went toe to toe in court with the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) and federal agencies to shine the light on the “hide the peanut” games that the agencies played with ridership estimates and other assessments in the agencies’ attempts to build the Purple Line light rail instead of cost-effective options that would better serve the public,” said Zepp, a retired professional planner and researcher.

“We are deeply thankful to the Montgomery County Civic Federation, Inc. for this award,” said Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail President Ajay Bhatt. “The credit goes to the activists who, over the years, fought the proposed Purple Line boondoggle and laid the groundwork for the lawsuit, to the volunteer experts like economist Frank Lysy, former commuter rail executive Marty Saggese, and others who dedicate countless hours of technical and legal research and guidance, and to the many supporters without whom this fight in court against the tragically wasteful Purple Line would not be possible.”

“Kudos to the Montgomery County Civic Federation,Inc. and its allies for recognizing that exaggerating ridership estimates is one of the tricks that developers and their hirelings play over and over to enrich themselves unjustly.  We are exposing that trick to the bright light of public justice that is the purpose of an independent judiciary in a constitutional democracy.  In making this award, the Federation shows that it too continues to expose boondoggles that rob theCounty’s residents and businesses of the public’s own valuable assets of all kinds: financial, cultural and natural assets alike,” said John Fitzgerald, co-counsel to FCCT.

“At a fraction of the $6-billion cost of this 19th-century technology, developer-driven Purple Line rail project, we could be providing free, smart, modern bus service to many more people in Montgomery County including those who need transit the most, while saving the priceless Trail as a linear park. Our fight in court is not over,” said Christine Real de Azua, a member of the FCCT Board and co-plaintiff in the lawsuit.


This award recognizes outstanding public service contributions by an individual or group in Montgomery County.  Instituted in 1984 by The Journal Newspaper, it was called “The Journal Cup” until 1998, when The Gazette Newspaper assumed sponsorship.  In 2010, it was renamed in honor of MCCF Past President Wayne Goldstein, who passed away in 2009.


The mission of the MCCF is to preserve and improve the quality of life for all current and future residents of Montgomery County, Maryland.  Since its founding in 1925, the volunteers of the MCCF have committed themselves to providing an effective citizen voice to government policy makers, both elected and appointed. For more about MCCF see


The Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail, formerly known as the Greater Bethesda Chevy-Chase Coalition, is an all-volunteer not-for-profit organization whose mission is to protect and establish green space and to save the Trail as a world-class linear park. The most critical threat the Trail faces today is the Purple Line light rail project, a project that FCCT is fighting in court. FCCT’s public interest litigation upholds fiscal responsibility and the rule of law, accountability, green space, environmental quality, meaningful mitigation, and non-destructive transit solutions that serve real needs and not just developers. For more about FCCT go to

WHY MCCF is recognizing FCCT with this award:

“The Wayne Goldstein Award recognizes and honors an individual or group for outstanding service to the people of Montgomery County. This year we will honor Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail for their work on the Trail and the major role they have played with the Purple Line, fighting for the public interest and for green space, transparency and accountability.

The work of the Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail included bringing two lawsuits that highlighted the importance of realistic ridership estimates in calculating the cost-benefit of hugely expensive public transit projects that can harm the environment such as the Trail and the streams and forests surrounding it. The judge’s ruling in the first lawsuit required the preparation of an additional formal assessment of ridership projections because usage projections failed to account for falling ridership trends.

We are honored to present the Wayne Goldstein Award to Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail.  FCCT struck a blow for objective analyses over highly optimistic assumptions in the approval of mega-project public works.”