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Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and the Board of Public Works earlier this week approved the Maryland Transit Administration's plan to build the Purple Line light-rail service through a public-private partnership.Board members also approved the MTA's proposed competitive solicitation method for choosing private partners to build, finance, operate and maintain the $2.2 billion line, which would run through Montgomery and Prince George's counties, MTA and O'Malley administration officials said in a press release.The board's approval of the partnership method means that a single private partner would be responsible for designing, building, operating and maintaining the project, as well as providing up to $900 million in private financing."The Department of Transportation presented a solid plan to bring private sector funding, innovation and best practices to this regionally important transit line," O'Malley said.The 16-mile Purple light-rail line would run east-west inside the Capital Beltway between Bethesda in Montgomery County and New Carrollton in Prince George's County with direct connections to Metrorail's Orange Line, Green Line and two branches of the Red Line, and to MARC's Brunswick, Camden and Penn Lines. Twenty-one stations are planned.The project's total cost is $2.2 billion, with the private sector expected to invest $500 million to $900 million. A combination of federal, state and local dollars also will be used to fund the project.
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