The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) Aug. 28 received notice that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has advanced the Purple Line project to the Engineering phase of its New Starts grant program. This action is a key milestone toward securing federal funding for the project and beginning construction next year.
“Today is another great day for transit in Maryland,” said Transportation Secretary James T. Smith, Jr. “We have taken two major steps forward this week in advancing the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s goal of doubling transit ridership. Yesterday, we announced Baltimore City and Baltimore County’s financial contributions and commitment to the Red Line. Today, the Federal Government gave us a strong vote of confidence in Maryland’s plan to deliver the Purple Line for the residents and businesses of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.”
"Entry to engineering is a necessary prerequisite to receive substantial federal support for the Purple Line,” said MTA Administrator Robert L. Smith. “This notice is evidence the Federal Government shares our belief that the project will transform the way Marylanders travel between Prince George's and Montgomery counties."
Entry into the New Starts Engineering phase is the final milestone required before FTA can sign a Purple Line Full Funding Grant Agreement. With this achievement, MTA can start to incur costs that are eligible for federal reimbursement. Last March, FTA gave the Purple Line project a Medium-High rating and recommended the Purple Line receive a total of $900 million, including $100 million in FY 2015.
The Purple Line is a 16-mile light rail line that runs east-west inside the Capital Beltway between Bethesda in Montgomery County and New Carrollton in Prince George’s County with 21 stations planned that will provide direct connections to Metrorail’s Orange Line, Green Line and two branches of the Red Line, and the MARC Brunswick, Camden and Penn Lines. The Purple Line will go to construction in 2015 and be open for service 2020.
Thanks to the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013, Governor O’Malley added funding to move this project forward. A combination of federal, state and local monies also will be used to fund the project. The total project cost is $2.4 billion with investments of: $900 million in Federal funds, $360 million to $760 million in State funds, $240 million in local funds from Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, and $500 million to $900 million from the private sector. Estimated ridership by 2040 is expected to be more than 74,000 and construction is estimated to create 6,300 regional jobs during the five-year construction period.