Purple Line Project Receives FTA Approval
The Federal Transit Administration gave the Purple Line project approval to enter the preliminary engineering phase, clearing the way for construction on the light rail to begin as early as 2015.
With FTA approval, plans for the Purple Line—the 16-mile light rail planned to connect Bethesda and New Carrollton with 19 station stops in-between—can become more detailed, work schedules and cost estimates can be drawn up, and environmental studies can be completed.
The FTA review of the Purple Line proposal focused on the project’s projected "high daily ridership [with an average of 60,000 riders a day by 2030] and many significant benefits," as well as Maryland ’s "financial commitment and technical capacity to build and operate the project. By granting permission to begin preliminary engineering, the Purple Line becomes one of a small of number of projects nationwide that are eligible for federal funding," according to a press release posted online by the governor's office on Friday.
O'Malley touts the Purple Line as a job-creating investment that will promote Maryland's economic growth.
“In order to create jobs, a modern economy requires modern investments," O'Malley said in the press release.
"The Federal Transit Administration’s approval today will help us continue to create jobs and expand rapid and reliable transportation in the Washington suburban region. ... Together, with our federal partners, we can secure the future of transit in Maryland and continue to move the Purple Line forward," he added.
"Maryland cannot continue to move forward if we are buried in gridlock,” Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett said in the press release.
“The Purple Line project will help us address many of the difficult challenges we face today and in the future," Leggett added.
The Purple Line is projected to create 27,000 jobs per year and nearly $10 billion in additional federal, state and local revenues through the life of the rail line. A workforce development task force established by the Maryland Transit Administration will assist in the creation of training programs for employment opportunities along the rail line, according to the press release.
Construction on the Purple Line could start as early as 2015, and could be completed as early as 2020. It is currently slated to cost $1.9 billion.
The public is invited to attend open forums next month to learn more about the Purple Line project and to share thoughts on the project with Purple Line planners. The forum dates and locations are:
- Tuesday, Nov. 1, at the University of Maryland, College Park (in the Prince George's Room of the Adele H. Stamp Student Union)
- Wednesday, Nov. 2, at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center (7100 Connecticut Ave., Chevy Chase)
- Monday, Nov. 7, at the Silver Spring Civic Center (One Veterans Place, Silver Spring)
- Thursday, Nov. 10, at Beacon Heights Elementary School (6929 Fruman Parkway, Riverdale)