WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Maryland's Purple Line Gets Federal Matching Funds

Maryland's plan to build a 16-mile light rail line from Bethesda to New Carrollton got a big lift from the federal government today.

The Purple Line is on the list of transit projects federal transportation officials say should receive funding from Congress. Therese McMillan, the acting head of the Federal Transit Administration, announced the agency is recommending the Purple Line receive $100 million next fiscal year in a conference call with reporters today. That's a key step toward satisfying Maryland's request for nearly $1 billion federal construction dollars.

"The project to date we think has cleared enough steps and requirements and milestones to be able to enter into the full funding grant agreement with us," McMillan said.

The Purple Line will compete with other transit projects across the country for federal funding. Overall the administration is proposing $2.5 billion for 26 projects in 16 states next fiscal year.

Joshua Schank at the Eno Center for Transportation, a D.C.-based think tank, said the Purple Line is in a good position.

"Typically Congress respects the U.S. [Department of Transportation's] recommendation on these projects because it is part of a process that has been developed over the past 30 years," Schank said.

Henry Kay, a top official at the Maryland Transit Administration, said the recommendation to fund to Purple Line is important because the $2.4 billion project can't be built without federal dollars.

"The federal funds are a critical part, so we are counting on being able to finalize this full funding grant agreement as part of the financial plan for the project," Kay said.

More than 100 homes and businesses would be displaced by the Purple Line's construction. The state is preparing to start purchasing those properties, but also faces the possibility of lawsuits from communities opposed to having the light rail system come through their neighborhoods.


From A Weirdo Nerd To A Guy Who Plays One On TV

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with the actor Rainn Wilson about his new memoir, The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy.

How Long Can Florida's Citrus Industry Survive?

The USDA recently stunned growers when it projected the smallest orange harvest for Florida in more than 50 years. The culprit: A tiny insect that's killing off the state's trees — and industry.

Snapshots 2016: Trump's Message Resonates With A Master Cabinet Maker

From time to time during this election season we'll be introducing you to ordinary people that our reporters meet out on the campaign trail. Today: a snapshot from a Donald Trump rally in New Hampshire.

Someday A Helicopter Drone May Fly Over Mars And Help A Rover

NASA is building a 2-pound helicopter drone that would help guide the vehicle on the Red Planet's surface. That way, the rover wouldn't need to wander as much to find its way around.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.