Maryland transit officials held a forum -- attended by about 300 engineers, consultants and financiers -- to see how private companies could help design, build and finance the proposed $2.15 billion light-rail Purple Line project in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. The private sector, looking to benefit from the project, could be asked to shoulder 5% to 10% of the construction costs and "help guarantee a high-quality project that would run well and would last." State officials hope to begin building the 16-mile light-rail line in 2015 and finish it by 2020.

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