The legal fight isn't over yet and there are still questions about funding, but work is starting to get underway on the Purple Line.
WASHINGTON — Work is picking up again on Maryland’s Purple Line even as the state waits to sign a final agreement with the federal government that would provide about $900 million required for the project to move forward.
“With a clear path forward, there are no plans to scale back pre-construction work,” said Maryland Department of Transportation Director Erin Henson in an email. Now, the state and the private companies designing and building the line are resuming preliminary work for about five years of full construction.
Advocacy group Purple Line NOW said it believes the largest remaining question is whether and when Federal Transit Administration will sign the full funding grant agreement that was nearly ready last year before the lower court stepped in.
“We continue to work with our federal partners to move the Full Funding Grant Agreement forward,” Henson said.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved an $874.6 million low-interest loan for the 16-mile 21-stop project in addition to the $900 million in direct federal funds
The FTA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Opponents of the rail project, which connects New Carrollton, College Park, Silver Spring and Bethesda, are still attempting to block it.
Last week, the opponents filed a motion asking the lower court judge who had blocked the project to hold it up again, despite the fact that the appeals court has put his ruling on hold until a three-judge panel can hear full arguments.
This week, Judge Richard Leon denied that motion and called some of the arguments in it “bald statement[s]” that appeared to go beyond the facts.
The opponents of the line have now filed their own appeal of Leon’s final ruling that challenges the parts that went against them.
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