Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Md. Road Projects Lose Out To Purple Line as Costs Rise

By Katherine Shaver
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Maryland transportation officials plan to build a Purple Line using money now envisioned for two major road projects in Montgomery and Prince George's counties, and the proposed rail line's estimated construction costs have climbed to $1.68 billion -- a $330 million increase from the most recently publicized projections.

One of the road projects would have widened 10 miles of Routes 28 and 198 between Georgia Avenue and Interstate 95 through northern Silver Spring and Burtonsville. The other would have widened about three miles of Robert Crain Highway (Route 3) between U.S. 50 and the Anne Arundel County line, according to state documents submitted to the region's Transportation Planning Board. Both projects were years away from construction.

Maryland officials laid out their Purple Line plans -- particularly how they intend to pay for the line -- as part of the pitch they will make before the regional planning board today requesting that the project be included in its 20-year funding plan. Such a step is required for any project that relies on federal money. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is expected to begin seeking federal construction money for a Purple Line this summer or fall.

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