The cost of building the Purple Line has jumped from $1.93 billion to $2.15 billion, marking the second price increase in the last two years, the Washington Examiner reports.
The 16-mile light rail that will connect Bethesda and New Carrollton, recently hailed as one of he best transportation projects in the country, is planned to open in 2020. But Maryland has none of the $4.7 billion it needs to build the Purple Line and Baltimore’s Red Line, according to the report.
If the Maryland Transit Administration is approved for the federal funds it’s hoping to secure from the Federal Transit Administration for the light rail projects, the money would only cover 40.6 percent of the Red Line and 46.8 percent of the Purple Line, according to the Examiner report.
But the state will need to point to sources for its portion of the funds to be eligible for the federal dollars, meaning lawmakers will need to identify new sources of revenue.
“Absent a revenue increase or federal aid, it is unlikely that the transit lines can be constructed,” a county statement read.
Lawmakers and community leaders are meeting today in Annapolis at a “transportation summit”—organized by Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner (D-Dist 1), Councilman George Leventhal (D-At Large) and Del. Brian Feldman (D-Dist. 15)—to discuss ways to fund state transportation projects.
The Red Line and Purple Line projects will be identified among projects “at risk,” but will not be the focus of the summit, according to the statement.
“There are few things more important to our county’s economic health than maintaining and expanding our transportation infrastructure, particularly new transit options that can help take cars off the road and connect employment hubs with our work force,” Berliner said in a statement. “Elected officials, community leaders, stakeholder groups and transportation advocates have spoken out regarding the need for dedicated transportation funding. The goal of this summit is to bring those voices together to discuss viable options for moving our County and our State forward.”