Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Maryland Purple Line receives federal funding; begins construction

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao at a Full Funding Grant signing ceremony for the Maryland Purple Line project. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao at a Full Funding Grant signing ceremony for the Maryland Purple Line project. Maryland Department of Transportation

The Maryland Purple Line project was able to mark two milestones Monday as officials signed a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) with the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and began construction activities.

 

USDOT's Federal Transit Administration committed $900 million from FTA's Capital Investment Grants Program to the project, which will build 16.2 miles of light rail connecting Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

"The Maryland Purple Line project is an excellent example of leveraging a transit project through a public-private partnership," continued USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao. "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."

Following the signing of the FFGA, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan started demolition activities to make way for the new Purple Line Operations Center.

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.

In addition to the $900 million FFGA, USDOT approved an $874.6-million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan for the project in June 2016. To complement state funding and federal funding for the project, Prince George's and Montgomery counties have pledged a combined $330 million in cash and non-cash contributions for the project.

Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) officials signed the $5.6 billion P3 contract in March 2016 with the Purple Line Transit Partners to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the 16.2-mile light rail system. MDOT will be the owner of the project and its selected private partner, Purple Line Transit Partners, will implement the project on a design-build-finance-operate-maintain basis.

The Maryland Purple Line will connect major activity centers in Bethesda, Silver Spring, Takoma-Langley Park, College Park, and New Carrollton to three Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) rail lines, all three Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) rail lines and Amtrak's Northeast Corridor line. Although the project will provide direct connections with Metrorail and MARC, it will remain physically and operationally separate. When completed, the line will make suburb-to-suburb cross-county travel easier and faster.

"The Purple Line project will be an important economic driver for Maryland," said Gov. Hogan. "It will integrate seamlessly with our current transit systems, combining [WMATA] and Amtrak, to provide more transit options across the region. Just the construction alone will mean thousands of new jobs for Marylanders."

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