A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that the state of Maryland can begin work on the Purple Line light-rail project.
According to the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C., the state’s previous environmental approval of the project granted last year can be reinstated.
“The state of Maryland has satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay pending appeal,” the court ruled in a two-page decision.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh took to social media Wednesday afternoon to laud the ruling.
“We are very pleased with the D.C. Circuit Court’s order on the Purple Line,” Frosh tweeted. “The order will allow construction to commence and we will continue to do everything we possibly can to keep the Purple Line moving forward.”
Although work on the $2.1 billion project can commence, about $900 million from the federal government must be used in order for that to happen.
The 16-mile Purple Line, which would connect to four Metro stations in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, would be built by a private contractor and overseen by the Maryland Transit Administration.
Officials estimate about one-third of the Purple Line riders would transfer to a Metrorail station and provide revenue for both Maryland and Metro.
Meanwhile, state officials continue to appeal a ruling made last year by Judge Richard J. Leon that the project be postponed to provide more information on how additional ridership will affect safety.
Friends of the Crescent Trail, a nonprofit organization based in Bethesda, filed a lawsuit against the project in 2014, claiming it would ruin the environment, increase vehicular traffic and be too expensive.