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Maryland board modifies P3 pact to advance Purple Line light-rail project

The modified P3 agreement has a cost of $9.3 billion.
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The Maryland Board of Public Works has unanimously approved a modification to the Purple Line public-private partnership (P3) agreement with the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) and Purple Line Transit Partners to select Maryland Transit Solutions (MTS) as the new design-build team to complete the Purple Line light-rail project.

MTS, which is composed of Dragados USA Inc. and OHL USA Inc., was selected by Purple Line Transit Partners in coordination with MDOT MTA after a competitive request for proposals process, MDOT officials said in a press release.

The modified P3 agreement has a cost of $9.3 billion, which includes the $3.4 billion design-build cost to begin full-scale construction later this spring with transit service starting in fall 2026, officials said.

The design-build cost to complete the Purple Line construction has increased by $1.4 billion from $2 billion to $3.4 billion. Reflecting the post-pandemic market, the total project cost includes rising material costs across the industry, material shortages due to supply chain challenges, a smaller labor force, increases in the insurance market and other factors, they said.

Commercial and financial close are anticipated in the coming weeks.

Yesterday’s action "is the critical step needed to move the Purple Line from construction into an active light-rail line that creates a truly interconnected regional transit system," said MDOT MTA Administrator Holly Arnold.

The P3 agreement includes several elements: the MTS design-build contract to complete design and construction; Purple Line Transit Operators to operate and maintain the line for 30 years; Purple Line Transit Partners to provide management oversight of all elements of the Purple Line for the life of the project; and MDOT to repay debt and equity.

The agreement modification also shortens, clarifies and streamlines the process for any dispute resolution between parties, officials said.

The Purple Line project calls for constructing a 16.2-mile, 21-station light-rail line between New Carrollton in Prince George’s County and Bethesda in Montgomery County. When completed, it will provide connections across the region with links to five branches of Washington, D.C.’s Metrorail, three MARC commuter-rail lines, Amtrak and a host of bus services.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/28/2022