Montgomery County organizations and nonprofits located around the Purple Line have until Nov. 30 to apply for community and environmental grants under a new initiative.
Beyond the Rails program, the private-sector partner of the Maryland Transit Administration, announced on Sept. 11 that grants between $1,000 and $3,000 will be available in both Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties to help address potential challenges raised by Purple Line construction.
Riverdale-based Purple Line Transit Partners LLC. (PLTP) is funding the program. At the Sept. 11 virtual meeting of the Montgomery County Council Transportation Committee, PLTP CEO Doran Bosso said the organization is excited to give back in a more tangible manner to the communities it serves.
PLTP is working with the MTA to finance, develop and construct vehicles for the 16.2-mile light-rail transit line that runs from Bethesda to New Carrollton. It will also operate and maintain the line once it opens.
The company plans to decide funding recipients by mid-December, according to John Undeland, a spokesperson for two companies that sponsor PTLP – Meridiam and Tikehau Star Infra.
Beyond the Rails will make six grants – three each in Montgomery Prince George’s counties, Undeland said. The program will be administered on a rolling basis and will award grants twice a year.
Grants in the community category will support the overall wellbeing of communities adjacent to the Purple Line, in areas such as safety, health, recreation, education and economic opportunity. In the environment category, funds will be designated to help pay for efforts to enhance or protect the natural environment.
County Councilmember Marilyn Balcombe (D-Dist. 2) urged Bosso to ensure that stakeholders with less sophistication would have access to the funding.
“The money’s great, but it’s small amounts and that amount of money could really, really benefit some small organizations and it would be a drop in the bucket and negligible to other, more sophisticated organizations,” Balcombe said.
Bosso called that “helpful feedback…I think we should be flexible, within reason, to adapt to different levels of either sophistication or size.”
Undeland said PLTP sponsors are “really cognizant” of the fact that some applicants might be challenged by a more complex application process and are focused on making applications “super easy.”
PLTP will be reaching out to all the elected officials on the Purple Line, as well as specifically in the communities themselves, to “get the word out as loudly as we can,” Undeland said.