Fla. SunRail, Md. Purple Line among DOT 'new start' grant winners

A proposed light rail in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., and a Florida commuter rail extension are among the recommended winners of “new starts” transportation grants in President Obama’s proposed 2015 budget.

The Department of Transportation is recommending that lawmakers provide $100 million to Maryland’s proposed Purple Line light railway, which is planned to run between Bethesda and New Carrollton, Md., north of Washington, D.C.

The transportation department is also recommending that lawmakers provide $63 million to a second phase of construction for Orlando, Fla.’s SunRail commuter rail line that is scheduled to begin operations this year.

The SunRail funding is projected to be used for part of a 29-mile extension of the commuter rail system beyond the 31 miles that are being prepared to open this year.

Other new starts winners under Obama’s budget include an extension of Boston, Mass.'s Green Line; a subway extension in Los Angeles; a railway in Fort Worth, Texas; and a river crossing project in Oregon.

The transportation department is also recommending continued funding for $1.4 billion worth of previous “new starts” winners, including an extension of Charlotte, N.C.’s LYNX light rail system and the Silver Line extension of Washington, D.C.’s Metrorail toward Dulles International Airport.