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The Maryland Purple Line is a proposed 16-mile (25.74km) light rail rapid transit line that will run east to west from Bethesda to New Carrollton, Maryland, US. The line is to built inside the Capital Beltway (I-495), a circumferential highway that encircles Washington DC.
The $2.37bn light rail transit (LRT) project being developed by the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is currently in detailed engineering phase. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the project was approved by the US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in March 2014.
Construction is due to start in 2015 and will create approximately 6,300 jobs. The new line is expected to enter service in 2020 and is estimated to have a ridership of more than 74,000 passengers by 2040.
Maryland Purple Line project development details
In January 2014, the MTA shortlisted four private-sector teams to design, build, construct, finance, operate and maintain the Purple Line on a public-private-partnership basis and released the Request for Proposals (RFP) in July 2014.
The concessionaire for the project will be chosen upon submission of the proposals by January 2015.
Maryland Purple LRT line route and infrastructure
The Purple light rail line is expected to have 21 stations, will provide direct connection to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) Metrorail Green and Orange Lines, as well as two branches of Red Line.
The line will pass through important areas, including Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Langley Park, College Park, University of Maryland, and Riverdale. It will cross several major arterial roadways and existing transit routes between Maryland and Washington, DC, within the Capital Beltway.
It will also provide connections to local bus services, Amtrak and MTA’s Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) train services on Camden and Penn Lines.
The Baltimore Red Line is a 14.1 mile east-west light rail transit line that will run from Woodlawn to Bayview.
The route includes approximately three miles of shared guideway on the Georgetown Branch right-of-way, an abandoned railroad corridor between Bethesda and Silver Spring, which is being developed as the last portion of Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) in conjunction with the light rail project.
A tunnel will be built from the west of Georgia Avenue to the intersection of University Boulevard and Piney Branch Road along its route. The 21 stations will include 16 at-grade stations, three elevated stations and two below-grade stations. The stations will be larger than a bus stop but smaller than a Metrorail station and will have approximately 200ft long platforms.
The Purple Line is proposed to be initially operated with 58 light rail vehicles (LRV) rolling stock. Two rail car storage and maintenance facilities will be built at Lyttonsville and Glenridge.
Financing for the new light rail line
More than 60% of the Purple Line’s project cost is being met through federal, state and local funding, while private sector investment in the project is estimated to be between $500m and $900m.
The project received $711m funding for design and construction from Maryland’s state funds in November 2013.
A joint venture of AECOM and Rummel, Klepper & Kahl (RK&K) was awarded a $60m programme management contract for MTA’s LRT projects including the Purple and Red lines in February 2011.
The joint venture will be responsible for finalising planning and preliminary engineering activities, overseeing final design and pre-construction work, as well as providing construction management and inspection services for the project.
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