Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Maryland governor commits Purple Line funds

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Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley on Monday, July 8, 2013, formally announced a state transportation package of $650 million for Prince George's County, located northeast of Washington, D.C., and including $280 million for design work and land acquisition for the proposed Purple Line light rail transit project.

The governor thus honored a pledge made last May to commit funds to the project, which has struggled against some political headwinds, including from the University of Maryland at College Park.

State funds will come from an increase in the state gas tax, passed by the state legislature earlier this year, raising the current 23.5 cent-per-gallon tax rate in several stages.

The 16-mile, 21-station Purple Line, projected to cost $2.15 billion, would span the Maryland's Washington, D.C. suburbs in both Prince George's and Montgomery counties, running from New Carrolton to Bethesda and intersecting with Washington's Metrorail system in four places, in essence forming a circumferential route for Metrorail users as well as intrasuburban rail options.

Maryland Transit Administration officials earlier this year offered a target completion date of 2020 for the Purple Line, five years later than some earlier projections.