The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced a $900 million federal grant agreement for the Maryland Purple Line Light Rail Project. The light rail line will make travel across Montgomery and Prince George’s counties faster and more reliable for thousands of Maryland residents, improving access to major business and activity centers in the state’s most populated counties.
"The Purple Line is a great example of what can be achieved when federal, state, and private partners work together," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao. "Combining U.S. Department of Transportation resources with private funds, this project is well on its way to transforming public transit in urban Maryland."
Secretary Chao made the announcement during a ceremony to commit the funds with Gov. Larry Hogan and several federal officials, as well as representatives from the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Maryland Transit Administration, and other local officials.
"The Maryland Purple Line project is an excellent example of leveraging a transit project through a public-private partnership," continued Secretary 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."
The 16.2-mile 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.
"We applaud Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and the State of Maryland for their vision and support to build a safe, efficient, and connected transportation network that will give nearly two million residents a new convenient and reliable alternative to traffic congestion in the Washington region," said FTA Executive Director Matthew Welbes. "The Maryland Purple Line will create a fast and efficient connection for its residents as well as a strong foundation for strategic development along the corridor."
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 Full Funding Grant Agreement from FTA’s Capital Investment Grants Program, U.S. DOT announced in June 2016, a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan of $874.6 million to Purple Line Transit Partners LLC for construction of the Maryland Purple Line.
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.