Who Will Finish Maryland’s Purple Line?

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor

Three design-build contractor teams have been short-listed to complete Maryland’s Purple Line, a 16.2-mile, 21-station light rail project that has been plagued with litigation.

Halmar International, Maryland Transit Solutions (comprised of Dragados USA Inc. and OHL USA Inc.) and joint-venture Tutor-Perini/Lunda were selected from five contractors that submitted statements of qualifications last month to Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP), Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), and Maryland Transit Administration (MTA). PLTP will issue a Request for Proposals in mid-March. Selection is planned for mid-June, with a financial agreement wrapped up in September.

The move follows a $250 million settlement that MDOT reached Nov. 24 with the three companies connected with PLTP, which holds the P3 (public-private partnership) agreement with MDOT MTA to design, build, finance and operate the project that will run from Bethesda to New Carrollton. The conflict centered on delays and $800 million in cost overruns. The Board of Public Works approved the settlement on Dec. 16, which kicked off work to procure a replacement for lead constructor Fluor, which is no longer associated with PLTP. Meridiam and Star America remain with PLTP as developers and equity partners.

PLTP Chairman Jane Garvey called the selection process “an important step” toward delivering the Purple Line. “Collaborating closely with our MDOT and MTA partners, we look forward to rapidly bringing on a new contractor and resuming full-scale construction,” she said.

“MDOT is committed to successfully delivering this important transit project for the citizens of Maryland, and we appreciate PLTP’s continued partnership to make this a reality,” MDOT Secretary Greg Slater said.

The Purple Line project broke ground in 2017, after a federal judge dismissed environmental claims in a lawsuit that had blocked project advancement.

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