Thursday, November 07, 2013

Purple Line 3P approach is approved

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Maryland transportation officials on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, got the go-ahead to advance a private-public partnership (3P or PPP) approach for the $2.2 billin Purple Line light rail transit project, designed to span two Maryland counties north and east of Washington, D.C.

The Maryland Board of Public Works, which includes Martin O'Malley, State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, and Comptroller Peter Franchot, unanimously approved the Maryland Department of Transportation's preferred approach. The Board last month delayed its vote. 

Maryland DOT seeks to have a private partner in place within a year, possibly with a contract of 35 years or greater, involving the design, build, operation, and maintenance (DBOM) of the 16-mile line.

Local media suggest the 3P plan is unusual for its size, and could be valued at $6 billion. But the DBOM approach has been used to advance U.S> light rail transit projects, including one relatively nearby: the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) line in northern New Jersey.

This is a project that's a big deal, and it's going to be a big deal for a long time," Maryland Transportation Secretary James T. Smith Jr. told the board. "If this works . . . we want to make this a model" for some other large infrastructure projects, he added.