Maryland BPW approves modification to Purple Line P3 agreement

Jan. 27, 2022
The move pushes the revised P3 agreement one step closer to financial and commercial close and the start of full-scale construction.

The Maryland Board of Public Works (BPW) approved a modification to the Purple Line Public-Private Partnership Agreement (P3 Agreement) on Jan. 26, 2022, which sets the project up to begin full-scale construction in the spring of 2022 and move on from a challenging era in the project’s development.

The modified P3 Agreement between the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) and Purple Line Transit Partners recognizes Maryland Transit Solutions (MTS) as the project’s design-build team; a selection made in November 2021 following a competitive proposal process.

The cost of the agreement has been updated to $9.284 billion, which includes the new MTS design-build contract of $3.4 billion. As Mass Transit previously reported, state officials noted the project cost increases could be attributed to rising material costs and material shortages, increases in the insurance market, as well as a smaller labor force – all factors being experienced on other U.S. projects.

“Despite the challenges over the last several years, we have never lost sight of the benefits of the Purple Line for the residents and businesses in the National Capital Region,” said MDOT MTA Administrator Holly Arnold. “Today’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. We wouldn’t be here today without the true partnership with Purple Line Transit Partners and the support of our county, state and federal partners to get this project built.”

Full-scale construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2022 following commercial and financial close. The project, which will be delivered all at once rather than in phases, is expected to open in the fall of 2026.

“Since we and MDOT MTA selected Maryland Transit Solutions as providing the best value to the people of Maryland, we’ve been working closely with MTS to help them hit the ground running,” said Jane Garvey, chairman, PLTP Board of Directors. “We’re very pleased to resume major construction so the Purple Line can begin serving Maryland travelers as soon as possible.”

Additional contracts awarded

While the P3 partners worked to secure a new design-build team, MDOT MTA took over the management of the existing Purple Line contracts – numbering more than 150 – to advance design components, secure critical stormwater management permits and complete numerous outstanding utility relocations. MTS will assume most of those contracts and five new MDOT MTA contracts were approved by BPW in a separate agenda item to complete outstanding projects, including utility relocation, concrete and other construction work.

BPW also approved a 48-month, $15-million contract modification for General Engineering Consultants to continue technical oversight of the design and construction work.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.