The Purple Line is a 16-mile light rail project linking Bethesda and New Carrollton. Its 21 stations will serve Downtown Bethesda, Downtown Silver Spring, Takoma/Langley, the University of Maryland College Park campus, Riverdale Park, the Amtrak station at New Carrollton and more. Once built, the line is expected to have an average daily ridership of 60,000 by 2030. Without the Purple Line, many of those riders will wind up on the Washington Beltway or local roads, adding to the region’s notorious pollution-spewing gridlock.
The Purple Line is critical to preserving Maryland’s economic competitiveness with Virginia. Just across the Potomac, Northern Virginia is building the Silver Line – a rail project that will connect Metro to Dulles Airport. Research shows that projects like the Purple Line create $6 in economic activity for every $1 spent on transit. Should Maryland get that money or let Virginia take all of it?
The Purple Line is projected to cost $2.1 billion to build. The State of Maryland has applied to the federal government for funding under its New Starts program. If approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Purple Line will be eligible for federal money up to almost half of its cost. But to get federal money, the state must show that it has a plan to pay for its share.
Right now, the state has not budgeted any construction funds for the Purple Line. Its Transportation Trust Fund is running out of money. Unless the state can show the federal government that it can pay its share of the Purple Line’s costs, the feds will fund other competing projects across the country and the Purple Line will not be built. This summer is a critical deadline. If the State of Maryland misses it, there may be no Purple Line.
Learn more about the Purple Line and get involved locally:
Purple Line map
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