March 24, 2014

Md. MTA Purple Line receives Fed environmental approval

The Maryland Transit Administration’s (MTA) Purple Line light rail project gained Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Final Section 4(f) Evaluation approval by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

The FEIS, issued for public comment in September 2013, assesses the potential transportation and environmental impacts and benefits of the Purple Line Preferred Alternative and the No Build Alternative.

The FTA’s Record of Decision (ROD) marks the end of a thorough and extensive process to identify and then avoid, minimize or mitigate possible impacts to communities, historic buildings and natural resources such as parks, wetlands, streams and trees.

The ROD summarizes the purpose and needs of the project, the alternatives considered, the comments received during the review period and responses to those comments, the factors that support the selection of the proposed alternative, and the commitments to be carried into further engineering and construction of the project.

Now that the FTA has approved the FEIS and has recommended the project be partially financed through a Full Funding Grant Agreement, the MTA can move into the next phase of the project, which includes selecting a private partner to finalize design, build, finance, operate and maintain the project.

Currently, MTA is working with four private-sector teams, who will submit proposals through a competitive process this year. In late 2014 or early 2015, MTA will select a preferred partner and recommend the final agreement to the Board of Public Works for its review and approval.

Construction is planned to begin in 2015, with the line operational in late 2020.

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