The Montgomery County Council granted legal approval Tuesday for the state to build and operate the Purple Line on county-owned land. The franchise agreement has a term of 70 years and authorizes the state to build, operate and maintain the project in county right-of-way.
Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reinstated the project’s Record of Decision, overturning U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon’s prior revocation and allowing the project to move forward while litigation ensues. State officials have indicated that construction will not commence unless the federal government executes the Full Funding Grant Agreement with the state to provide $900 million in federal funding.
From The Washington Post:
The county council’s staff recommended that the panel approve the agreement before its seven-week summer break. The timing of the vote signals that state officials are moving quickly to get the project ready for construction, perhaps as early as September, depending on when, or if, the federal funding is approved.
The county did not ask the state to pay for the land, saying in the agreement that it “recognizes that the Purple Line provides valuable benefits to county residents.”
The agreement can be extended for two additional 25-year periods. The county can terminate it if the state stops operating the Purple Line for three consecutive years.