After having faced numerous legal and financial setbacks, Washington D.C. Metro’s Purple Line has finally gained federal funding and broken ground.Construction for the Metro’s Purple Line has finally started after countless delays and setbacks. Governor Larry Hogan and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Secretary Elaine L. Chao were at a ceremonial signing of the $900 million funding arrangement on August 28. Governor Hogan said that the project will be “an important economic driver in Maryland." The Purple Line is a multi-billion-dollar endeavor, which many hope will make commuting easier for thousands of residents and tourists alike. The Maryland Department of Transportation had previously signed the project’s $5.6 billion-dollar contract last year. However, the construction of the 16-mile light rail system was stalled as legal constraints pushed back groundbreaking and the projected date of completion. Since signing the agreement in 2016, the Department of Transportation of Maryland has finally secured financing, and completed design plans on acquired real estate and the necessary permits. Once complete, the east-west rail line will consist of 21 stations, connecting to Metro’s red, green and orange lines, all three MARC train lines, and Amtrak’s New Carrollton Station. Currently, metro riders in Prince Georges and Montgomery must travel via DC to reach stations along train lines in the two counties, resulting in unnecessarily long commutes and higher fares despite the close proximity of the most traveled areas in both counties.
While federal and state funding has been secured for the project, both Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties have also together committed to providing $330 million in additional contributions for the Purple Line. Maryland’s Department of Transportation will oversee construction which is currently projected to be in service by 2022. What are your thoughts on the new light rail system? Sound off in the comments below.