Senate earmarks $3 million for Md.'s Purple Line

By Katherine Shaver
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 15, 2009; 6:35 PM

Maryland's plans to build a Purple Line between Bethesda and New Carrollton got a boost last weekend when the U.S. Senate included $3 million for the project in a transportation appropriations bill.

It is the first federal money earmarked for the light-rail line.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill this week, said a staffer for Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.). The bill also includes $3 million for a Red Line transit link in Baltimore, the staffer said.

The $3 million will be used to fund the preliminary engineering phase of the 16-mile Purple Line this spring, said Michael D. Madden of the Maryland Transit Administration. The Federal Transit Administration must first approve the project as part of the initial quest for federal funding before that engineering work would begin, Madden said. But, he said, the state is "very confident" that it will get that approval in the next few months.

Madden said the Purple Line's preliminary engineering is estimated to cost $50 million. He said the state will seek additional federal money to cover as much as half of those costs. The estimated cost of the entire project is $1.68 billion.

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