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FTA approves $900 million for Maryland light-rail line

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao (at podium) hailed the project as "an excellent example of leveraging a transit project through a public-private partnership."
Photo – USDOT

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has signed a $900 million federal grant agreement for Maryland's Purple Line light-rail project, the agency announced yesterday.

The signing coincided with a groundbreaking ceremony held yesterday in Hyattsville, Maryland. The 16.2-mile light-rail line will connect to three Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) rail lines, all three Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) rail lines and Amtrak's Northeast Corridor trains.

Although the Purple Line will directly connects to WMATA and MARC lines, it will remain physically and operationally separate, FTA officials said in a press release. Designed to make suburb-to-suburb travel faster, the new light-rail route will run from Bethesda to New Carrollton, Maryland.

The project includes the construction of 21 stations, two vehicle and maintenance storage yards with shop facilities, and the procurement of 25 articulated light-rail vehicles. It's expected to cost $2 billion to build the Purple Line.

"The Maryland Purple Line project is an excellent example of leveraging a transit project through a public-private partnership [P3]," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in a press release. "P3s hold great potential for revitalizing our infrastructure and demonstrate how communities' projects can benefit through access to additional funding resources, which can accelerate project delivery and provide greater innovation."

Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) officials in March 2016 signed a $5.6 billion P3 contract with Purple Line Transit Partners to design, build, finance and maintain the light-rail line. MDOT will be the owner of the project.

Purple Line Transit Partners comprises Fluor Enterprises Inc., Meridiam Infrastructure Purple Line LLC and Star America Purple Line LLC.

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More News from 8/29/2017