Lawmakers had allotted $2 million in “discretionary” funding last year, but Wilkins said the state has yet to provide the money. The state will be required to spend the $2.5 million, she said. Details of how businesses can apply for the help aren’t yet available.
Many of the businesses along the 16-mile light-rail alignment between Montgomery and Prince George’s counties have lost income during the 3 ½ years of construction at the same time as they have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Wilkins said.
“Our small, minority and immigrant-owned businesses along the Purple Line corridor have struggled long enough,” Wilkins said. “I extend my appreciation for their patience and resiliency in the midst of overwhelming circumstances. We know these funds are just a start, and we will continue the work to ensure that these businesses thrive.”
Business owners have reported losing customers and revenue because streets have been narrowed or blocked, utility services have been disrupted and parking has disappeared. Some have said they’re worried they won’t survive the construction, which was supposed to be completed in March 2022 but has been significantly delayed.