Purple Line NOW, a nonprofit organization that has advocated for the Purple Line since 2002, hosted a forum Tuesday night on the status of the 16-mile Purple Line project for its Envisioning the Purple Line forum series.

Maryland Transportation Secretary Gregory Slater, project leaders and representatives from Prince George’s and Montgomery counties discussed plans for moving the project forward and recent legislation impacting the light rail.

Last month, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill that requires the Maryland Department of Transportation to develop the Urban Tree Program to replace trees that are deforested for state transportation projects in the areas they are removed from, including those impacted by the Purple Line.

“It’s great to have allies like Purple Line NOW to help us move [the Purple Line] project along and keep that momentum going,” Slater said. “The Purple Line is frankly one of the most important projects we have underway in Maryland right now. Its success is critical to the future of the National Capital Region and Maryland as a whole.”

Maricela Cordova, the Purple Line implementation manager for the Montgomery County transportation department, echoed Slater’s enthusiasm.

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“I also share … everyone’s passion for collaboration and partnership,” Cordova said. “[Montgomery County] certainly shares in the excitement Secretary Slater expressed about seeing the Purple Line in operation very soon.”

Maryland took over the project’s construction in the fall before the Board of Public Works approved a $250 million agreement to settle contract disputes last December.

The settlement makes the previous contractors, Meridiam and Star America, responsible for finding a new design-build contractor. Three design-build teams — Halmar International, Maryland Transit Solutions and a joint venture between Tutor Perini and Lunda Construction Co. — are competing for the contract to finish the light rail project.

The three contractor teams will prepare proposals, and the selected builder will go to the Board of Public Works for approval and start in the fall.

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Purple Line Transit Partners CEO Doran Bosso said a schedule for the Purple Line’s delivery will be uncertain until one of the bidders is selected.

“The new proposers may have some great ideas where a small change in design or constructability or work plan could save significant time or significant money,” Bosso said. “We want to evaluate those, so we did leave that opportunity open.”

Another round of Purple Line Community Advisory Teams meetings are slated to begin on May 19 with the University Boulevard community.

College Park’s CAT meeting will be hosted virtually on Tuesday, June 22 at 6:30 p.m.

Slater also announced the Maryland Transit Administration is developing a 50-year transportation vision and plan that incorporates equitable mobility and transit-oriented development into the long-term vision.