Due to the dense, urban environment of the project, coupled with significant vehicular and pedestrian traffic, the Purple Line project has and continues to face challenging construction conditions.  -  Photo: MDOT MTA

Due to the dense, urban environment of the project, coupled with significant vehicular and pedestrian traffic, the Purple Line project has and continues to face challenging construction conditions.

Photo: MDOT MTA

The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration and Purple Line Transit Partners are seeking Board of Public Works approval of a modification to the Purple Line Public-Private Partnership Agreement, which will extend the contractual deadline for achieving Revenue Service Availability to Winter 2027.

“Completion of the Purple Line remains a critical transit priority for the region,” said Maryland Transit Administrator Holly Arnold. “Despite significant achievements in the last year, including reaching project completion of more than 65%, an additional delay is necessary at this time due to the complex nature of the project. We know this delay is frustrating to many, but the entire Purple Line team remains focused on completing the project as quickly and safely as possible.”

Reasons for Delay

Due to the dense, urban environment of the project, coupled with significant vehicular and pedestrian traffic, the project has and continues to face challenging construction conditions.

Following the completion of project-related work being completed by the agency, the Maryland Transit Administration, and Purple Line Transit Partners collaborated to reassess the project schedule and mitigate delays. Despite ongoing mitigation efforts by the project team, including rescheduling work to run concurrently and extending work hours, the delayed work impacted the remaining project schedule.

In addition to the extension of the project’s Revenue Service Availability deadline, the Maryland Transit Administration will provide compensation to Purple Line Transit Partners of up to $425 million.

Payments will be made over five years upon the achievement of certain project milestones, such as the arrival of the first light rail vehicle in Maryland, completion of major construction work on the University of Maryland College Park campus, reopening of the Capital Crescent Trail, and commencement of systems testing.

Continuing Progress

The Purple Line achieved significant progress over the last year, with the total project more than 65% complete. Thirteen of 21 stations are in active construction, nearly 17,000 linear feet of track has been laid at multiple locations (Ellin Road, Campus Drive, Plymouth Tunnel), and Talbot Avenue in Silver Spring has been completed. 

Additionally, the Glenridge Operations and Maintenance Facility will begin receiving the first light rail vehicle later this spring.

“The Purple Line team is working with Purple Line Transit Partners to advance construction as quickly as possible and will continue to work to minimize the impacts of construction on residents and businesses,” said Ray Biggs II, Purple Line sr. project director.

In January 2024, Purple Line Transit Partners announced the first six recipients of its Beyond the Rails grant program, which is aimed at supporting community initiatives and providing tangible resources to organizations that work to improve the lives of residents in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

As part of this modification, Purple Line Transit Partners agreed to provide $4 million to extend a program currently in place to provide grants to businesses impacted by revenue loss due to extended project construction. In addition, the Purple Line Transit Partners also committed to an on-the-job training program to help develop a diverse and qualified workforce in Maryland.

"Success hinges on teamwork and we are fortunate for our partnership with the Maryland Transit Administration, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, the University of Maryland, and others as we work to deliver the Purple Line as rapidly as possible,” said Doran Bosso, CEO at Purple Line Transit Partners.

Purple Line Projects

The Purple Line is a critical infrastructure project that will expand transit opportunities between Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, two of the most populated counties in the state. The 16.2-mile, 21-station light rail line will offer convenient east-west transit access for jobs, school, shopping, and recreation.

The Purple Line will provide connections across the region with links to three branches of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Metrorail, three MARC commuter rail lines, Amtrak, and a host of regional and local bus services.

The project will help relieve vehicle traffic in the National Capital region — one of the most congested areas of the country — and will spur economic growth through community revitalization and job creation. Project construction supports more than 6,000 jobs, with a goal of 26% of design services going to small and minority-owned businesses and 22% of construction going to small and minority-owned businesses.

In addition, the Maryland Department of Transportation, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, and private developers are actively expanding opportunities for Marylanders through transit-oriented development and economic development activities along the Purple Line corridor.

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