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Purple Line Gets Closer To Federal Approval, But Funding Questions Remain

A decision that will affect the immediate future of the Purple Line project in Montgomery and Prince George's counties is expected soon.

Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff says that within the next couple weeks a "record of decision" is expected on the 16-mile light rail project — the paper granting the Purple Line the federal government's blessing to proceed.

"It means it's gotten all of the go-aheads from the federal agencies in terms of environmental approvals, having cleared the public participation process, and is ready to move forward on a funding decision," he says.

That funding decision will go a long way toward determining if and when the Purple Line gets built. Maryland is seeking matching dollars from the feds to build the $2.2 billion dollar project.

"We are still waiting to see what our final appropriation is for this year, and we are hopeful that if we can make progress in buying down some of the liabilities that we have to other projects around the country that we will be able to consider the Purple Line for next year's budget," he says.

Rogoff says the Obama administration has supported a record number of projects to expand transit around the country, which is both a blessing and a curse for Maryland officials.

"The flipside of that is we now have funding obligations to a great many other cities and the Purple Line is in line with all those other cities," says Rogoff.

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