Maryland’s Purple Line project has had its ups and downs, but it looks like it’s full speed ahead. The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration has agreed to sign a $900 million federal full funding agreement for the $2 billion project.
Despite this spring’s White House budget proposing to eliminate new federal grants for transit construction, the Purple Line was approved for funding in part because of how advanced it was; already, Maryland has spent $300 million on development work. A team of developers and equity investors has also been formed, called Purple Line Transit Partners, that is expected to commit the equity required for the project.
Construction was scheduled to begin last fall. If the federal investment had not been approved, the state of Maryland would not have been able to afford the project.
The deal is expected to be signed next week. Construction is set to begin just weeks after the deal is formalized.
The Washington Post also reported, “The Trump administration is eager to promote it as a model for financing and operating major infrastructure projects by using public-private partnerships, in which governments team up with for-profit companies.”
In a statement, Senators Chris Van Hollen and Benjamin L. Cardin said, “We are pleased that this project is now moving forward and appreciate Department of Transportation Secretary Chao’s efforts to secure the funding.”
They added, “We know it will strengthen our economy, help combat congestion and air pollution, and improve the lives of families in our state.”
This past May, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled that federal transit officials needed to complete a “supplemental” environmental review, which could have caused the project to be put on hold indefinitely. Two months later, a federal appeals court reinstated the Purple Line’s environmental approval.
The Purple Line is planned to run 16 miles between Prince George's and Montgomery counties. There will be a total of 21 stops.
• Maryland to get $900-million federal full funding agreement for Purple Line [The Washington Post]
• Trump budget plan would deal blow to Washington region’s transit; Purple Line at risk [The Washington Post]
• Purple Line project moves forward [Curbed DC]
• Purple Line delayed, thanks to judge’s ruling [Curbed DC]