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Brown confident of progress on Md. Purple Line

Monday - 4/15/2013, 1:28pm  ET

WASHINGTON - Maryland leaders are confident the Purple Line from Bethesda to New Carrollton will open by 2020.

After a meeting with federal transportation officials in the District Monday, Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown tells WTOP he talked with them about "the full range of what that partnership looks like."

"We think we're going to be able to make tangible progress, so that by the end of next year, we will have identified the project developers [and] the managers and be well on our way to delivering the project," Brown says.

Brown met with U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari and Federal Transit Administration Administrator Peter M. Rogoff. Porcari is a former Maryland transportation secretary.

The Purple Line, Baltimore's Red Line and other major transportation projects are among those still on the table after state lawmakers passed new gas tax hikes that will begin phasing in this July.

The funds will pay for transportation maintenance and construction.

"Any time you ask residents to pay more at the pumps, or more in taxes, it's incumbent upon us to demonstrate what the benefits are," Brown says. "When we point to projects like the Purple Line that will enable us to increase mass [transit] ridership, get people off the road, spending more time being productive or at home, it's certainly more acceptable that we're asking them to pay more at the pumps."

State officials are hoping for some federal funding for the Purple Line project -- the same type of funding recently denied for a streetcar line in Virginia's Columbia Pike corridor.

The Purple Line -- a 16-mile light rail that will provide connections to various transit systems -- has been in the works for at least 10 years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.