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Purple Line NOW News - February 16, 2022

In today's edition of Purple Line NOW News, here's what you'll find:

  • Purple Line in the News
  • Features & Highlights
    • Community Advisory Teams
    • Could the Trail Open Early?
  • Construction News
    • Wisconsin Tunnel Funding in Question
    • T&E Subcommittee Briefing on the Purple Line
    • Photos from Around the Corridor

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What' Happening


We are so appreciative of your financial support over the past months (and years/decades!). Your donations help us: 

--continue our work advocating for the project!
--maintain our role as an answer-getter for all of your questions!
--bring important project information to our community and beyond!

We use every donation we receive to continue our newsletter, continue offering regular webinars, continue being a strong liaison to help connect you to people who can solve your issues, and continue our strong advocacy for the project in every way possible. If you would like to know more about who we are, why we are asking for donations, and what we do with your gift once it arrives on our doorstep, you can read all about it in our November newsletter.

Although the matching campaign has ended, we are grateful for every donation we receive, so if you didn't have a chance to donate before the end of the year and would like to do so now, just click the purple button above. Unless you tell us otherwise, your name will be listed on our website and in publications for a year following your donation.

Christine Scott, Executive Director

PL in the News


DePuyt, B. "New Purple Line Contract Aims to Keep Construction Firms on the Job." Maryland Matters, 12 February 2022.

Features and Highlights


2022 Community Advisory Teams

We do not have the dates for the 2022 Community Advisory Teams (CATs) yet, but understand they will be happening later this spring. As soon as we know, we'll publish those dates in this newsletter.

Could the Trail Open Early?

According to Katherine Shaver of the Washington Post via a Twitter post on February 11 indicated that a "top Maryland transit official told lawmakers today the Capital Crescent Trail could reopen between Bethesda and Silver Spring before the Purple Line opens in fall 2026" and said the state would “'very much like' to reopen trail while PL trains are tested, after construction is done." We hope this comes to pass and will certainly keep our eye open for any official news regarding an early reopening of the trail.

Construction Updates


Wisconsin Tunnel Funding in Question

Once again, funding for the tunnel that was slated to go underneath Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda protecting bicyclists and pedestrians from the traffic above, is not a given in the current budget proposal by Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. Purple Line NOW has actively advocated directly to the council on the importance of a safe, fast, and high-quality trail connection through Bethesda, as originally promised, when full service begins in the fall of 2026. Applying for funding for the tunnel is a start, but this connection deserves to be treated as a priority and to have its place in the budget.

You can read more here: Trail tunnel planned for downtown Bethesda faces another construction funding battle

T&E Subcommittee Briefing on the Purple Line

The Transportation and Environment Subcommittee, chaired by Delegate Marc Korman, held a briefing on the project on February 11. Holly Arnold, Administrator, Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), Matt Pollack, Executive Director of Transit Development and Delivery, Jaclyn Hartman, Chief Financial Officer, MDOT provided an update on the progress since the builder was named late last fall.

You can watch the full briefing here: T&E Subcommittee Purple Line Briefing

According to materials provided by the state at the briefing, the updated design-build contract will cost $3.4 billion, including all prior and future work. The P3 Agreement total cost includes:

1) PLTP’s cost to design and construct the highly complex light rail system, including all related financing costs for:

  • All construction completed to date by the previous design-builder
  • The replacement design-builder’s fixed price to complete the project
  • Work completed by MDOT MTA during the resolicitation period

2) Costs related to the Settlement Agreement:

  • Settlement payments made to the previous design-builder
  • Repayment of the private activity bonds for construction work previously completed

3) Capital renewal costs for the 30-year operating period

4) Operations, maintenance, and insurance costs over the 30-year operating period:

  • Deductions to O&M payments will be made if performance specifications are not met

As we explained in our previous newsletter, the cost of the P3 Agreement has increased for several reasons, including:

  • Delay impact of federal court action that was later overturned.
  • Impacts of global COVID-19 pandemic, including rising materials costs rising and supply chain issues across the construction industry, along with labor shortages/workforce challenges.
  • Mandatory wage increases for living wage laws in Maryland and Montgomery County.
  • Changes in the insurance market, making insurance harder and more costly to obtain.
  • Inflation experienced over the last five year.
  • Bringing on a new design-build contractor to the Project mid-construction.

For the details in actual dollars, the state provided this chart:

We also were able to view an updated calendar for milestones leading to opening day in late fall, 2026.

Spring 2022: Full-scale construction will commence by MTS
Fall 2023: Light rail vehicles will arrive at Glenridge Operations & Maintenance Facility in Prince George’s County
Summer 2024: Test track will be complete for local testing and operator training
Winter 2025: Construction will be complete, commence system-wide testing and commissioning activities will be ongoing
Fall 2026: Revenue service will begin – full line and all 21 stations operational at one time

Photos from Around the Corridor

The following photos are courtesy of MDOT MTA. Thank you to the hard working Purple Line crews!

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