The long anticipated Purple Line appears to have taken another step toward reality via what The Washington Post reports as an unusual route.
While concerns over favoritism, noise levels and pedestrian safety have arisen around the debate over the proposed 16-mile railway in suburban Maryland, details have emerged about how the state plans to finance the project. The Maryland Department of Transportation wants to share the risks of such an expensive project with an underutilized partner—the private sector, according to the report.
As The Washington Post reports, the plan would have the state government enter a public-private partnership in which both parties bear some of the risks. Government officials say this will reduce liability for the state in the event of construction delays or an increase in the price of materials.
According to the article, private firms would be expected to contribute up to roughly half of the $2.2 billion price tag. These companies would then be reimbursed as the work was carried out.
The Washington Post cited State Sen. Richard S. Madaleno (D-Montgomery) as one of those who remains skeptical, but sees the possible benefits.
“It’s attractive. It’s an innovative approach,” Madaleno told The Washington Post. “But we don’t have very many, if any, examples of how this works out.”
The Maryland Board of Public Works is scheduled to review the plan on Wednesday and will take a vote which would allow the Transportation Department to begin the proposal process, according to the article.
While the public-private proposal is leaving some politicians skeptical, community members are instead questioning the effects that a new transit line will have on their neighborhoods.
Some worry that the rail system will be too noisy when operating in the vicinity of residential areas. However, there are proposals to build noise-reduction walls in areas that are adjacent to homes. Others are worried about the noise that will accompany the 20 electrical substations that are needed to operate the rail line.
Additionally, there have been concerns about pedestrian crossings, especially in Chevy Chase, where a path utilized by students of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School could be interrupted by the Purple Line's route.
As the plan begins to roll out, Maryland may have its eyes on Denver, and the Eagle P3 commuter project, which is the only other public-private partnership in the nation of the same magnitude. The Eagle P3 project is still under construction.