The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau has provided a TIFIA loan for up to $1.76 billion for Maryland’s long-delayed Purple Line Light Rail Transit Project.
The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan will finance up to 33% of the $5.9 billion in eligible project costs, USDOT reported on April 14. The 16.2-mile, 21-station light rail project’s total cost is estimated at $9.284 billion.
The Purple Line broke ground in 2017 with an expected opening date of last month, but has been plagued with litigation that was resolved in November 2021. It is under construction and scheduled to start carrying riders between Bethesda in Montgomery County and New Carrollton in Prince George’s County in fall 2026. The project will provide direct connections to four branches of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority system, all three MARC commuter rail lines in the Baltimore-Washington metro area, and Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor line; it also includes completion of the Capital Crescent Trail.
The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration is working under a Public Private Partnership (P3) agreement with Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP) to design, build, operate and maintain the light rail system for 35 years. PLTP received the TIFIA loan, which replaces a previous $874.6 million loan that closed in June 2016, according to USDOT.
“The Purple Line will provide faster, more direct and more reliable transit service for the suburban Maryland and D.C. region’s residents and visitors while easing congestion on local roads,” Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg said. “By cutting an estimated 17,000 vehicle trips each day and operating using electric power, this project has tremendous environmental benefits as well.”
“The much-anticipated Purple Line will serve areas that will benefit from associated economic development, while creating opportunities for transit-oriented development,” Build America Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian said. “We worked closely with our partners to finalize this loan, which is an essential piece of the financing to move this critical project forward.”