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Maryland takes over hundreds of Purple Line contracts to continue construction

It is PLTP’s construction contractor, a joint venture led by Texas-based Fluor, that quit over the cost overruns. Maryland officials said they are continuing to negotiate with PLTP over whether the project’s larger $5.6 billion partnership can be saved.

Maryland Transportation Secretary Gregory Slater said the state “officially took over the day-to-day management” of the 16-mile light-rail project through Montgomery and Prince George’s counties Sept. 28. Matthew Pollack, the state’s Purple Line project director, met with subcontractors Sept. 30 “to outline the next steps,” said Erin Henson, spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Transportation.

Henson said it then took time to figure out what work could continue. Most new construction stopped in mid-September, after a Baltimore judge ruled that the contractor had a legal right to quit.

The contracts that the state has assumed include the manufacturing of the light-rail vehicles, the eventual operations and maintenance of the rail line, and 233 design and construction contracts and other agreements.

Under state management, work will continue on erosion and sediment control, relocating overhead electrical wires and underground utilities, and some final design work, Henson said.

“While the state is committed to ongoing negotiations, we have to continue to deliver the Purple Line for the citizens of Maryland and protect the state’s interest, which includes ensuring construction continues,” Slater said in a statement.

Maryland transit officials have said they will decide in the next four to six months whether they will continue managing the project, seek a new construction contractor or procure another public-private partnership if the agreement with PLTP dissolves.

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