WASHINGTON — Maryland plans a groundbreaking ceremony for the long-awaited Purple Line next week, a Montgomery County councilmember says.
The 16-mile, 21-stop state light rail project connecting New Carrollton, College Park, Langley Park, Silver Spring and Bethesda had been held up by a court ruling until a federal appeals court stepped in last month.
As the appeal moves forward, preparations for construction picked back up. The project is now allowed to get about $900 million in federal funding through an agreement that had originally been expected to be signed last summer before the lower court decision.
The funding agreement is now due to be signed shortly, Gov. Larry Hogan’s office said this week. That would allow for a groundbreaking that Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal said on Facebook is scheduled for next week.
According to the contract for the project, the first section of the line to be completed for testing purposes is due to be from near the Glenridge Shopping Center at the intersection of MD 410 and MD 450 to the New Carrollton Metro.
Other Montgomery County councilmembers and officials said they were aware an event was being scheduled, but could not yet share a specific date or time.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker’s office referred questions about next week’s groundbreaking to the state. The governor’s office, Maryland Department of Transportation and Federal Transit Administration did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Advocacy group Purple Line NOW said they had not received any official invitations, but expected a formal announcement soon of a Monday morning groundbreaking in the Hyattsville area.
The Purple Line and the completed trails alongside the route are scheduled to open by 2022.
It is being built and operated by a private contractor for the state, but will have four stations where riders can transfer to or from Metrorail.
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