Maryland’s Purple Line Project receives FTA award for excellence

Written by Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) received the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award of Excellence in Environmental Document Preparation for the Purple Line's Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).


The award, which will be given with a certificate and letter of recognition, will be presented on October 4, 2015, at the American Public Transportation Association’s annual meeting. In analyzing the Purple Line’s environmental documentation, FTA noted that it exemplified best practices for a well-managed environmental documentation process.

“The review committee was particularly impressed with the presentation of information, including the use of reader-friendly language, graphics and tables, while successfully resolving complicated environmental issues,” said Megan Blum, FTA’s environmental protection specialist.

“We are grateful for this recognition as we continue to work with citizens and county officials to deliver the Purple Line,” said MTA Administrator Paul Comfort. “We have designed a valuable transportation and economic development project that will improve mobility for tens of thousands of Maryland residents while safeguarding our precious natural resources.”

The Purple Line’s FEIS, issued for public comment in September 2013, assesses the potential transportation and environmental impacts and benefits of the Purple Line Preferred Alternative and the No Build Alternative. The Record of Decision was issued by the FTA in March 2014, documenting the FTA’s decision on the Purple Line and the environmental requirements. This approval marked the end of an extensive process to identify and then avoid, minimize or mitigate possible impacts to communities, historic buildings and natural resources such as parks, wetlands, streams and trees.

With funding now committed by local government partners, MTA is focused on securing federal funds and working with private sector teams interested in designing, constructing, operating, financing and maintaining the Purple Line. The Purple Line is a 16-mile light-rail line that runs east-west inside the Capital Beltway between Bethesda in Montgomery County and New Carrollton in Prince George’s County. The project will include 21 stations with direct connections to Metrorail’s Orange and Green Line trains and two branches of the Red Line, as well as MARC’s Brunswick, Camden and Penn Lines. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016 and will create 23,000 new jobs over six years. The Purple Line is expected to open for service in 2021.