Maryland Purple Line Litigation Heads for Settlementeditor@aashto.org December 4, 2020 0 COMMENTS
The State of Maryland and its Purple Line subway construction partners – Meridiam, Star America, and Fluor – reached a $250 million agreement on November 24 that settles all outstanding financial claims and terminates the current litigation between the parties regarding the Purple Line project.
[Above photo by the Maryland DOT.]
As part of the settlement agreement, Purple Line Transit Partners P3 Agreement will proceed with just Meridiam and Star America as P3 [short for public-private partnership] developers and equity partners.
Those contractors were building the Purple Line subway extension as part of a four-year-old, $5.6 billion P3 crafted by the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Transit Administration. Yet they sought to withdraw from that design-build contract back in May due to delays and cost concerns accelerated in part by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A formal settlement agreement will go before the Board of Public Works this December for review and approval. The parties agreed to put all pending claims and litigation on hold pending BPW review of the settlement agreement, the Maryland DOT noted in a statement.
“This agreement is a major step toward completing the Purple Line, a transformative project for our state and the region,” noted Governor Larry Hogan (R).
“I would like to thank Greg Slater [Maryland DOT secretary] and our partners at Meridiam and Star America for coming together to find a path forward that will lead to a new contractor,” the governor added. “We continue to make progress on all of the highest priority transportation projects across Maryland.”
If approved by the BPW, Meridiam and Star America would initiate a solicitation for a new design-build contractor in coordination with the Maryland DOT and MTA. In the interim period, the Maryland DOT and MTA would retain oversight of hundreds of contracts and purchase orders to continue delivery of the Purple Line.
Purple Line work currently underway includes light rail car manufacturing, bridge work, storm water drainage, paving, plus utility and pump station construction.
The two agencies will also continue work while also focusing on reducing risks in the upcoming solicitation by completing design, acquiring permits and advancing utility work along the Purple Line corridor.
“When you are trying to solve complex issues, collaboration is the key,” noted Maryland DOT’s Slater. “In big projects like this, there are challenges you will encounter, and it takes a good partnership to work together productively on solutions.”