Maryland uni backs Purple Line

The Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland has approved a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) regarding the Purple Line

Following the Chancellor’s recommendation the regents approved (12-1) the MOA between the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) and the MTA for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the Purple Line through the UMCP campus. A 1.5 mile stretch of the proposed 16.2 mile light rail passes through the campus. 

MTA will contract with a concessionaire to design, finance, construct, operate and maintain the Purple Line and under the MOA the MTA (through its concessionaire) bears all costs of operating the line, except that UMCP has agreed to perform snow removal, trash removal, landscaping, and maintenance of surface stormwater features. The MTA will require the concessionaire to indemnify the university against any claims.  

Under the MOA the concessionaire may not begin work on campus unless and until the concessionaire and university agree on a "Campus Construction Management Plan". In addition the university controls, and retains revenue from, advertising and on fixed assets of the project. 

There are a series of special restrictions including limits on speed (15mph) and electromagnetic interference. The concessionaire must design and construct the Purple Line "using, to the maximum extent feasible, Source based mitigation of the most effective technology available." If not sufficiently addressed, then the concessionaire must design, fund and construct secondary facilities or fund relocation of sensitive equipment to another location.  

All university ID holders may ride the Purple Line for free on the five-station segment. For full time students, faculty and staff, MTA has agreed to allow the university to "buy down" up to one-third of the cost of the standard Purple Line fare for travel outside the fare free zone. The university gets an amortized credit (estimated to be not less than $300,000 for 30 years) for the value of its real estate plus a credit for the cost, to the university of providing maintenance, landscaping and police services in support of Purple Line operations.      

The MOA will now be sent to the Office of the Attorney General and the Chancellor of the university to sign. In April of 2011, the Board of Regents endorsed the Purple Line in a non-binding term sheet.