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Maryland officials, including Gov. Larry Hogan, celebrated the laying of the first segment of rail for the Purple Line on Thursday morning.

The Purple Line will connect New Carrollton to Bethesda with 16 miles of east-west light rail over 21 stations.

Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn called the Purple Line “a critical link” in the region’s transportation system, and Hogan said the line will “integrate seamlessly with Metro, MARC trains, Amtrak to provide more transit options across the region.”

The project broke ground two years ago and is projected to cost $5.6 billion. Hogan, at the event in Lanham, Maryland, said that the project would employ 6,300 Marylanders in the construction, take 17,000 cars off the roads each day, and has already led to $2 billion worth of office, residential and commercial projects along its corridor.

Hogan, the chairman of the National Governors Association, said that last week at a meeting in Boston he called the Purple Line, which is being built by a public-private partnership, “the kind of forward-thinking project that other leaders should be thinking about.”

Click here to read the rest of the article written by Rick Massimo over at WTOP