WASHINGTON — A federal judge dealt another blow to the proposed Purple Line light-rail project in D.C.’s Maryland suburbs.

The judge on Monday ordered more studies on the possible effect of declining subway ridership.

The judge’s order puts construction of the 16-mile line on hold. Work has been delayed 7 months because of a federal suit filed by opponents of the line to connect Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

The Washington Post reports that Maryland officials have said they needed a favorable ruling by June 1, or they would have to suspend much of the rail project’s planning and design work because state money would run out.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said in a statement that the ruling is disappointing and will cost Maryland hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars.

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