The Purple Line, a proposed light rail line that is a critical part of College Park’s future development, has cleared an important hurdle on the way to becoming a reality. On October 7th Governor Martin O’Malley announced that the Federal Transit Administration has given the go ahead for the project to proceed to the “Preliminary Engineering” phase. This means that the project now can move on to developing more detailed plans, construction schedules, and cost estimates, and can complete the relevant environmental studies. This latest approval is no guarantee of ultimate federal funding for the project, but it moves the project an important step closer.
The Purple Line is a planned 16 mile light rail line that will run from Bethesda in the west to the New Carrollton Amtrak station in the east. The College Park/University of Maryland area will be one of the main beneficiaries of the project, with 5 planned stations (University College, UMD Student Union, East Campus/Route 1, College Park Metro, and River Rd./M Square). Important progress was made earlier this year when University of Maryland President Wallace Loh announced that the university was dropping its opposition to a route that passes through the middle of the UMD campus. That route received strong support from the Maryland Transportation Administration (MTA) and from the local community and officials.
The MTA has announced a series of Open Houses to update community members on this next phase of the project. The first of these will be held in the Prince George’s Room at the Stamp Student Union, in the middle of the UMD campus, on Tuesday November 1st, from 5:30 – 8:30 pm. All are welcome.