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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has advanced the Purple Line project to the engineering phase of its New Starts grant program, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) announced yesterday.The FTA's action marked a milestone toward securing federal funding for the proposed 16-mile light-rail line, which would extend from Bethesda in Montgomery County to New Carrollton in Prince George's County, Md."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," said MTA Administrator Robert Smith in a press release.
MTA now can start to incur costs that are eligible for federal reimbursement. In March, the FTA gave the Purple Line project a "medium-high" rating and recommended the project receive a total of $900 million, including $100 million in fiscal-year 2015.
The Purple Line would include 21 stations that would provide direct connections to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's Metrorail Orange, Green and two branches of its Red lines, and the MARC Brunswick, Camden and Penn lines. Construction is slated to begin in 2015.