Purple Line project wins final lawsuit; expect major construction to begin in the fall

Written by RT&S Staff
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After months of delay, the Purple Line project in Maryland is expected to kick back into high gear after Labor Day.
Purple Line

Lawsuits against the Purple Line project in Maryland have all been run through the shredder.

The third and final one was defeated in a federal appeals court. There, the judges ruled the Purple Line project does not violate Clean Water Act protections for streams and wetlands. It was a unanimous ruling.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit Court in Richmond, Va., said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers properly issued a permit allowing Purple Line workers to discharge dredge and fill into wetlands and waterways. The decision agrees with a lower-court ruling. The plaintiffs in the case tried to argue that the agency did not consider another option that would have been more environmentally friendly—a bus option.

Back in March, Judge Barbara Milano Keenan said state and federal officials had done enough to rule out bus options because they would not meet the state’s goal of creating a more efficient transit system. In her ruling, Keenan said enough was done to determine the light-rail line was the best option because it had a much lower impact on wetlands than the other options that were explored.

The plaintiffs are not likely to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Purple Line project sits at 40 percent complete, and major construction is expected to restart in the next few months.

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