10/07/2011 01:43 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

O'Malley: Feds OK Preliminary Engineering For Purple Line

WASHINGTON -- The future light-rail line that is designed link communities in Montgomery and Prince George's County got one step closer to reality. On Friday, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) announced that the Federal Transit Administration has allowed the long-planned Purple Line project to enter the preliminary engineering phase. The blessing from the feds means that environmental studies can be completed and more detailed work on schedules and cost estimates can commence. It also opens the door to further consideration for federal funding.

The governor said in a statement: "The Purple Line will be an environmentally-friendly option that will reduce gridlock and connect citizens to economic opportunities throughout the region. Today's federal approval affirms the benefits and feasibility of this project—paving the way for job creation and future federal funding. Together, with our federal partners, we can secure the future of transit in Maryland and continue to move the Purple Line forward."

The Purple Line, when completed, will be 16 miles long and link the Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park and New Carrollton Metrorail stations, in addition to the University of Maryland and neighborhoods like Riverdale Park, Langley Park and Chevy Chase Lake. Twenty-one stations are currently planned.

WATCH: Purple Line Town Hall Meeting at the University of Maryland