Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) Metrorail system. (Photo Courtesy of www.fta.dot.gov )
Development of the beleaguered Purple and Red metrorail lines of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority received a much-needed financial boost with line-item injections of $100 million in federal funds to support each construction project.
U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), vice chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, made the announcement that the Fiscal Year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations would support more than 10,000 Maryland construction jobs, and create a key suburb-to-suburb link between Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.
Prince George’s County Council member Dannielle Glaros (D-District 3) said commuters, businesses and government are ready for the Purple Line. “I am thrilled that Gov. Hogan (R) has made the decision to move the Purple Line forward, however, his announcement that the State’s contribution is dropping from $700 million to $168 million is puzzling,” she said.
According to Glaros, the line is a “crucial” project for Maryland, and will enable it to connect information centers, increase jobs, and ensure the state’s economic competitiveness. “I look forward to working with our private sector partners, the State of Maryland, and the Federal Government to bring this project to fruition and ensure that everyone is providing the funding necessary to deliver a high-quality project.”
The Red Line is a 14.1-mile east-west corridor from Woodlawn to the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center campus with 19 stations. It would serve areas in western Baltimore and downtown Baltimore and connect with the existing Light Rail, Metro and MARC trains.
According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, estimated ridership by 2040 is expected to be more than 74,000 and construction is estimated to create 6,300 regional jobs during the five-year construction period.