Maryland Takes Over Hundreds Of Purple Line Contracts After Fallout With Contractors : NPR

The Maryland Transit Administration will now oversee the day-to-day management of the construction of the Purple Line.

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The Maryland Transit Administration has taken over hundreds of contracts for the Purple Line light rail construction, following a months-long battle with the private-partner consortium working on the $5.6 billion project.

State officials announced the news Friday, according to the Washington Post, potentially upending one of the largest public-private partnerships in the country.

The takeover comes after contractors with Purple Line Transit Partners LLC, the consortium of private companies that partnered with the state to develop the line, quit construction over cost disputes with the state — squabbles that had persisted for years. Under the public-private partnership, the state owns the project, but the contractors under PLTP oversaw the build-out of the light-rail, which would connect New Carrolton to Bethesda.

In September, a judge ruled that the contractors could quit amid cost overruns and construction delays, and required them to stay on the job until Sept. 14. On Sept. 23, many crews began packing up.

The disruption now leaves roads torn up and bridges half-built across Montgomery and Prince George’s County. The state and subcontractors will work together to continue working on the corridors in the county over the next 30 days, according to Maryland Department of Transportation spokesperson.

Maryland Transportation Secretary Greg Slater wrote in a statement provided to DCist that the state will now oversee the “day-to-day” management of the light rail (including manufacturing, maintenance, and 233 design and construction agreements), but the move will likely delay final completion — which was originally slated for March 2022 — by years.

In mid-September, following the judge’s ruling, state transportation officials met with Montgomery County councilmembers to assure them that the rail would be completed

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MDOT takes over rail contracts from Purple Line contractors

Just weeks after work on the Purple Line ground to a halt in the wake of a bitter, years-long financial dispute, the state Department of Transportation announced on Friday that it has assumed numerous key construction contracts.

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Just weeks after work on the Purple Line ground to a halt in the wake of a bitter, years-long financial dispute, the state Department of Transportation announced on Friday that it has assumed numerous key construction contracts.

The move is the first tangible sign that MDOT intends to make good on its promise to jump-start the 16.5-mile project, despite the demise of the agency’s relationship with the financing consortium, Purple Line Transit Partners, and its prime subcontractor, Purple Line Transit Constructors, last month.

Despite the assumption of contracts, the state’s Transportation secretary insisted that MDOT is “committed” to ongoing negotiations to bring PLTC back to the project. A dispute over nearly $800 million in cost overruns led the firm to exercise its right to walk away with the line partially built.

The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) officially took over the project on Sept. 28. MDOT senior official Matthew Pollack is now serving as Purple Line executive director for the agency.

“MDOT and MTA have assumed the Purple Line’s key contracts and hundreds of subcontracts to continue the delivery of the Purple Line, “ said MDOT spokeswoman Erin Henson in a statement.

She said the contracts assumed by the state from PLTC include light rail car manufacturing, operations and maintenance, 233 design and construction contracts and six commercial leases and licenses.

Last week PLTP entered a forbearance agreement with its lenders, a move that allowed the firm to make a $7.8 million

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Maryland takes over hundreds of Purple Line contracts to continue construction

It is PLTP’s construction contractor, a joint venture led by Texas-based Fluor, that quit over the cost overruns. Maryland officials said they are continuing to negotiate with PLTP over whether the project’s larger $5.6 billion partnership can be saved.

Maryland Transportation Secretary Gregory Slater said the state “officially took over the day-to-day management” of the 16-mile light-rail project through Montgomery and Prince George’s counties Sept. 28. Matthew Pollack, the state’s Purple Line project director, met with subcontractors Sept. 30 “to outline the next steps,” said Erin Henson, spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Transportation.

Henson said it then took time to figure out what work could continue. Most new construction stopped in mid-September, after a Baltimore judge ruled that the contractor had a legal right to quit.

The contracts that the state has assumed include the manufacturing of the light-rail vehicles, the eventual operations and maintenance of the rail line, and 233 design and construction contracts and other agreements.

Under state management, work will continue on erosion and sediment control, relocating overhead electrical wires and underground utilities, and some final design work, Henson said.

“While the state is committed to ongoing negotiations, we have to continue to deliver the Purple Line for the citizens of Maryland and protect the state’s interest, which includes ensuring construction continues,” Slater said in a statement.

Maryland transit officials have said they will decide in the next four to six months whether they will continue managing the project, seek a new construction contractor or procure another public-private partnership if the agreement with PLTP dissolves.

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