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State: Process to Condemn Property for Purple Line Can Begin

The proposed Purple Line light rail would connect Bethesda with New Carrolton, while displacing 116 homes and businesses. The 150-day period to file lawsuits tied to the project began this week.

State: Process to Condemn Property for Purple Line Can Begin

The process for condemning property along the 16-mile route of the proposed light-rail Purple Line between Bethesda and New Carrollton can begin, Maryland officials announced Thursday.

Federal officials have approved an environmental study for the project that would run between Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, a milestone that allows the state to begin  condemning private property for construction, The Washington Post reports.

The approval also sets the clock ticking on  potential lawsuits, which must be filed within 150 days.

The proposed federal budget release this winter includes $100 million in federal construction money for the Purple Line’s construction. Maryland transit officials have said they are seeking $900 million in federal funding for the $2.2 billion Purple Line project, the newspaper says.

The Maryland Department of Transportation is seeking bids from teams of private companies to complete the design, help finance the line and then build, operate and maintain it. Those bids are due in the fall.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2015. The Purple Line would make stops at the University of Maryland, Silver Spring and Takoma Park and other major population centers. 

But, more than 116 home and business owners are going to have to vacate their property to make room for the new train’s route. 

One town in the light rail's path is considering legal assistance to make sure that the town's concerns about the line are addressed, Patch earlier reported.

The Town of Chevy Chase Council is "unanimously opposed" to the Purple Line as it currently is conceived, Mayor Patricia Burda wrote in a January email to town residents,  which number about 3,000.

The town council is opposed to the Purple Line for a variety of reasons, "not the least of which are the actual impacts to the Town and the Capital Crescent Trail, the impacts to the entire region through increased development with no reduction of traffic, and the overall rising costs of the project to the residents in the county and state," Burda wrote.

Maryland has allotted $750 million in state funds to the project and is seeking $500 million to $900 million in private funding as part of its overall  financial plan. Another $220 million total would come from Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, according to the Post.

Read more about the Purple Line on Patch and on the  Maryland Transit Authority's website.

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