Washington, D.C. — U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan of $874.6 million to Purple Line Transit Partners, LLC, for implementation of the Maryland Purple Line. The TIFIA loan will support the construction of the light rail line connecting Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, MD.
“The Washington metropolitan region is one of the most congested areas in the country, and viable transportation alternatives are needed to accommodate a growing population,” said Secretary Foxx. “When completed, the Maryland Purple Line will connect residents in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, MD with improved access to jobs, education, and medical care and, overall, will help improve the quality of life.”
The Maryland Purple Line Project is a 16.2 mile, 21-station, east-west light rail line that will connect numerous communities in Maryland, from Bethesda in Montgomery County to New Carrollton in Prince George’s County. The corridor is located inside the Capital Beltway near Washington, D.C., in a densely populated area with commercial, mixed use and residential development. The line will connect major activity centers in Bethesda, Silver Spring, Takoma-Langley Park, College Park, and New Carrollton with communities along the alignment, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) Red, Green and Orange Metrorail lines, all three Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) rail lines and Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor line. Although the project will provide direct connections with WMATA, MARC and Amtrak, it will remain physically and operationally separate.
In addition to the TIFIA loan of $874.6 million, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is working with the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) on a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) that would provide $900 million from FTA’s Capital Investment Grant Program. In addition, MTA will use $36 million of FTA Section 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Grant funds for the project. FTA anticipates that the FFGA will be signed this summer.
“The Federal Transit Administration is proud to help provide a new transit option for Maryland residents in one of the most highly populated corridors in the nation,” said FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers. “The Purple Line will help residents access one of the state’s largest job centers as well as its flagship state university without having to drive on heavily congested roads. Moreover, the Purple Line’s unique public-private partnership allows the state of Maryland to better leverage federal funding.”
The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be the owner of the project and its selected private partner, Purple Line Transit Partners, will implement the project on a design-build-finance-operate-maintain basis. The Purple Line project was procured as a public-private partnership under a concession agreement that was executed on April 7, 2016, and expires approximately 30 years after substantial completion, which is anticipated in March 2022.
The TIFIA program seeks to advance critical transportation infrastructure nationwide by leveraging federal, state, local, and private sector funding sources. Under the TIFIA program, the DOT provides secured direct loans, lines of credit, and loan guarantees to public and private applicants for eligible surface transportation projects. TIFIA can finance transportation projects such as highway, transit and passenger rail; certain freight and port facilities; surface transportation facilities at airports; and other transportation improvements.
The TIFIA program maximizes limited federal resources to deliver large infrastructure investments. Historically, TIFIA has supported total infrastructure investment of about four times the amount of total credit assistance it has made available. Since program inception, TIFIA has approved 62 loans totaling more than $23 billion to stimulate over $83 billion of transportation infrastructure investments throughout the United States.
The DOT recently announced new funding availability in the TIFIA program as well as changes to the program made in the most recent surface transportation funding authorization, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. Further details are available here.
In July 2014, Secretary Foxx established the DOT’s Build America Transportation Investment Center (BATIC). BATIC is a one-stop-shop for states, municipalities, and project sponsors looking to utilize federal transportation expertise, apply for federal transportation credit programs, and explore ways to access private capital in public private partnerships. Since launching the BATIC, DOT has provided credit and financing support to projects representing billions of dollars in infrastructure investment. BATIC is helping to advance projects like the Maryland Purple Line more efficiently through the review process.