Rendering of Purple line (ReThink College Park)

After years of opposition, the Purple Line, the proposed 16-mile light rail that would operate between Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, received approval from the Federal Transit Administration to move into a preliminary engineering phase.

Last summer, the UMd agreed to allow Purple line to run through its campus.

Essentially, yesterday’s news means that the FTA thinks the project is a good one and can actually be built. Now, more detailed plans will be discussed, including schedules, cost estimates and completion of environmental studies.

It is just one step in the process of getting the Purple Line rolling — but an important one.

“Governor O’Malley and I have made public transportation one of our top priorities because we understand that Maryland cannot continue to move forward if we are buried in gridlock,” Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett said in a press release.

Next, Maryland Transportation leaders will go to the federal government asking for funding.

The line would connect the Bethesda and New Carrollton Metro stations, traveling east-west through Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

If all goes according to plan, the rail could be rolling by 2020.

[Source WTOP]