Without New Funding Source, Purple Line Could Be 'Put On Hold'
State money could be shifted away from several major transportation projects in fiscal year 2014.
Several major transportation projects in the region could face delays if state lawmakers fail to increase funding to the Maryland Transit Administration for fiscal year 2014.
The Purple Line—a light rail system that would pass through College Park on its 16-mile run from Bethesda to New Carrollton—would be affected, along with Montgomery County's Corridor Cities Transitway and Baltimore’s Red Line.
Maryland Senate president Thomas V. Mike Miller has proposed a 3 percent gas tax that would raise about $300 million for transportation projects.
But absent a funding increase, a state transportation budget plan calls for re-allocating the money earmarked for the projects within the Maryland Transit Administration’s FY14 budget.
“Without a revenue increase in the 2013 legislative session, the project will be put on hold and FY14 funding will be reallocated within MTA's budget,” reads project forms for the Purple Line in MDOT’s FY2013-2018 Consolidated Transportation Program.
MDOT spokeswoman Erin Henson said the state plans to fund the Purple Line through the preliminary engineering phase, expected to wrap up in August, and through the “record of decision” phase of a federal environmental impact statement.
“It’s similar to our highway projects—if we finish one stage and we don’t have the money to move forward, you don’t want to have [the funds] sitting there, you want it on a project that can move forward," Henson said.
The exact amount that may be re-allocated wouldn’t be known until the completion of the preliminary engineering phase, Henson said.