ANNAPOLIS (WJZ) — The Board of Public Works on Wednesday unanimously approved a settlement between Maryland and Purple Line partners, allowing the state to move forward with completing the project.

The project will connect New Carrollton in Prince George’s County to Bethesda in Montgomery County with a 16-mile East-West light rail line that will have 21 stations.

Gov. Larry Hogan said the project is estimated to create more than 6,300 jobs in Maryland and would take 17,000 cars off the road.

“The Purple Line is a long time coming, and we have certainly had to overcome some significant hurdles that set us back. Opponents delayed it for two years, costing taxpayers money, and threatened to kill this critical project, but we kept pushing and working hard to keep moving forward,” he said.

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Maryland will pay the companies managing the Purple Line’s construction $100 million by Dec. 31 to settle contract disputes under an agreement as a part of that $250 million settlement.

“Today is a great day for everyone with a stake in the Purple Line’s success but most especially for the people of Maryland. On behalf of my colleagues at Meridiam and our partner, Star America, we express our thanks for the resilient partnership we share with Governor Hogan, with Secretary Slater and the MTA,” said Jane Garvey, Chairman, Meridiam North America and Chairman of the Purple Line Transit Partners Board.  “The months of challenging but always good faith negotiations, led by Secretary Slater, have paved the way for an agreement that will allow the project to move ahead. We look forward to our continued partnership with Governor Hogan’s team and with Secretary Slater in delivering what is a critical project for the citizens of Maryland.”

With the agreement now approved, Meridiam and Star America initiate a solicitation for a new design-build contractor working with the Maryland Department of Transportation and Maryland Transit Administration.

The governor’s office said the negotiations “save Maryland taxpayers $550 million.”

“When you are trying to solve complex issues, collaboration is the key. In big projects like this, there are challenges you will encounter, and it takes a good partnership to work together productively on solutions,” said Transportation Secretary Gregory Slater. “Even in the most challenging parts of the negotiations, Chairman Garvey and I spoke every day focused on coming together to deliver this project for the citizens of Maryland.”

CBS Baltimore Staff