After delays local leaders celebrate Purple Line construction
HYATTSVILLE – After 30 years of planning, workers finally broke ground on the Purple Line, the soon-to-be light rail line that will connect Metro stops in Montgomery County to Prince George’s County.
After the ceremony, workers began construction on the 16.2-mile $2 billion light rail line that will connect Bethesda Metro to New Carrolton Metro Station with 21 stops including at Silver Spring, Takoma/Langley Park and College Park.
Gov. Larry Hogan, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Rep. Anthony Brown (D-4), Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker were on hand for the signing and groundbreaking ceremony for the Purple Line.
Chao lauded the project saying the Purple Line is one of the largest public-private projects in the country. In April 2016, Hogan signed the $5.6 billion P3 contract to begin the long process of building the new rail system.
“The Purple Line is a great example of what can be achieved when federal, state and private partners work together,” Chao said. “This was a truly collaborative project and Maryland should be proud of the work they did to secure the funding needed to make the Purple Line a reality.”
Monday marked an official agreement between the federal government and the State of Maryland in funding for the Purple Line. In total, the federal government will contribute $900 million in funding with Chao and Hogan’s signature on the full-funding agreement Monday.
"This multi-billion dollar infrastructure project is a big win for the State of Maryland, and will be a major benefit to the National Capital Region,” Hogan said. “It is a shining example of what can be accomplished when our federal, state, county, and private sector partners work together."
Construction of the Purple Line began immediately after the event with Hogan climbing into an excavator to help tear down a small building as part of construction of the project. Hogan touted the project as a job creator, saying it will create “thousands” of jobs for Marylanders.
“Just the construction alone will mean thousands of jobs for Marylanders, and the Purple Line will be a transformative long-term asset to our state,” Hogan said.
Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony was not within sight about a month ago.
Last August District of Columbia District Judge Richard Leon halted construction, ruling that Maryland Transit Administration needed to update it Metro ridership numbers before it can commence with the project.
In late July a three-judge panel granted a stay on Leon’s decision clearing a legal hurdle for the project. While construction of the Purple Line was originally scheduled to be finished in 2021, Pete Rahn, secretary of transportation for Maryland, is unsure when construction on the project will be finished because of the legal delay.
At the ceremony Leggett credited community activists, who for 30 years, fought and lobbied for the construction of a light rail line to connect Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
“We stood at the Silver Spring Library a few months ago, I said that we will have this project – it will in fact be built,” Leggett said. “It may take a little bit long…but it will in fact happen and today is testimony to that and testimony to the commitment to what is right.”
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