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Purple Line Plans Advance: Feds Approve Maryland Light Rail


By David E. Hawkins, Laura Lucas Palekar, and Michael Ernst

Maryland's Purple Line light rail is one step closer to becoming reality after a recent approval from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The FTA's decision, which is expected to be published shortly in the Federal Register, effectively finalizes the Purple Line's route and finds that federal environmental requirements have been met.

The Purple Line route runs 16.2 miles east to west from Bethesda to New Carrollton in Maryland. Approximately 388 private property owners will be impacted by the taking, including approximately 67 landowners whose property will be totally taken by the project. The project will also permanently damage a number of properties with noise and vibration impacts.

The Purple Line project, which has been explored for over a decade, still has a number of steps before it becomes a reality, including:

- Acquisition of land from private property owners (expected to begin this year);

- The selection of a private partner for construction of the light rail (expected in late 2014 or early 2015);

- The granting of $900 million in federal funding (expected in spring 2015); and

- Construction (expected to begin in spring/summer 2015)

The rail is currently scheduled to be up and running in 2020.

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