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Court Ruling Allows Purple Line Construction To Begin

A rendering of a Purple Line train

Construction can begin on the Purple Line following a ruling Tuesday from a federal court of appeals. 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted a stay of a lower court ruling that had prevented work from starting on the $2B project, WAMU reports. The stay will allow construction to begin as the courts consider the legal arguments. 

The ruling in May from Judge Richard Leon had been a major setback for the project. Leon had originally vacated the project's approval in August. With a recent partial congressional appropriation being contingent on a full funding agreement being reached by September, the project's continued delays had jeopardized its federal funding.

The 16-mile light rail would stretch from Bethesda to New Carrollton with 21 total stops. The project has sparked development along the route, though some projects have moved forward even as the line's fate remained uncertain. 

Purple Line supporters, including local government officials, cheered Tuesday's ruling. 

“After the wasteful and unnecessary delay caused by the litigation, we are thrilled to finally see a pragmatic decision by the court," Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, who recently announced plans to run for governor, said in a release. "No additional time should be wasted in moving ahead with the construction of this vital transportation infrastructure project. With the Record of Decision now back in place, we look forward to the federal government promptly signing the full funding agreement.”