Purple Line Transit Partners selects design-build contractor to complete Purple Line

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
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Purple Line Transit Partners has selected a new design-build contractor.
Maryland DOT

RT&S Editor-in Chief Bill Wilson has been reporting extensively on the ups and downs of the Maryland Department of Transportation's Purple Line Project over the past several months. A big issue has been the need for Purple Line Transit Partners to select a new design-build partner, and now that selection has been made.

Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP), in close partnership with the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), has selected Maryland Transit Solutions (MTS) to complete the Purple Line. The comprehensive and joint PLTP-MDOT MTA evaluation selected MTS, comprised of Dragados USA Inc. and OHL USA Inc., as offering the best value.

The next steps in the procurement process include finalizing contracts as PLTP advances efforts to secure required financing. MDOT MTA intends to return to the Maryland Board of Public Works (BPW) with the selected contractor, replacement design-build contract and amended P3 Agreement, which will include an updated project cost and schedule for completion.

Following anticipated BPW approval, commercial and financial close (i.e., agreement on financing and other commercial terms) is anticipated in February 2022. Next spring, MTS is expected to mobilize and resume full-scale construction of the Purple Line.

“We’re very excited to bring on MTS so the Purple Line can begin serving the people of Maryland as soon as possible,” said Jane Garvey, chairman, PLTP Board of Directors. “In their proposal, discussions and oral presentation, MTS showed they possess all the right qualities – thorough knowledge of the project, across-the-board expertise and a demonstrated spirit of partnership – to get the job done efficiently and with excellence.”

“I’m excited to partner with Maryland Transit Solutions to move full speed ahead with construction and delivery of this regionally important project,” said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater. “We have made a lot of progress in this interim period. Today’s news is one more step towards completion and one more step towards Marylanders riding on this critical transit connection. I want to thank everyone for their continued patience as we work hard to get the Purple Line back on track.

”While procurements of this magnitude can take 18 months to two years to complete, the replacement of the Purple Line contractor is on track to be completed in just over a year. The process began in January 2021 when PLTP issued a Request for Qualifications, followed in March by a short-listing of teams and issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP). During the summer and fall, PLTP and MDOT MTA held one-on-one discussions with proposal teams and refined the RFP. In October, PLTP received compliant and responsive proposals from MTS and a joint venture of Tutor-Perini and Lunda, while a third shortlisted team, Halmar International, opted not to submit a proposal.

“Working in lockstep with MDOT MTA, we’re heartened that our procurement effort attracted two quality bids and we thank Tutor-Perini/Lunda for their strong proposal,” Garvey said. Dragados comes to the Purple Line with a great deal of fresh and relevant experience in delivering transit projects. Among their notable projects are the $2.4 billion Los Angeles International Airport Automated People Mover and three light rail projects in Canada with a combined value of $5.5 billion. Dragados was ranked sixth on Engineering News Record’s (ENR) 2020 Top Transportation Contractors List. OHL has more than a century of infrastructure construction experience and is ranked number 15 on ENR’s 2020 Top 50 Domestic Heavy Contractors List.

The Purple Line will be a 16-mile, 21-station light rail line providing rapid, convenient transit service between New Carrollton in Prince George’s County and Bethesda in Montgomery County. The east-west line will connect with five branches of Metrorail, three MARC commuter rail lines, Amtrak and a host of bus services. While supporting community revitalization and transit-oriented development, the Purple Line also will help reduce dependence on auto travel: Twenty years after service begins, the Purple Line is estimated to take 17,000 vehicles off the road daily, saving a projected one million gallons of gasoline annually (source: Final Environmental Impact Statement1).

Purple Line Transit Partners is headquartered in Riverdale, Maryland and holds the Public-Private Partnership Agreement (P3 Agreement) with MDOT MTA to design, build, finance, and operate the Purple Line Light Rail Project. PLTP is comprised of majority partner Meridiam and Star America. Meridiam, with $18 billion of assets under management and over 100 projects to date in the U.S., Latin America, Canada, Europe and Africa, is a leading public infrastructure developer, investor and manager committed to delivering sustainable and resilient infrastructure projects that positively impact communities for the long-term. Star America, a subsidiary of Tikehau Capital, is a U.S.-headquartered developer and manager of infrastructure assets in North America with investments in projects that have a total asset value of more than $5 billion as of June 30, 2021.

For a selection of Bill Wilson’s stories about the Maryland Purple Line, please visit this category on our website.

Read more articles on passenger rail.

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1 https://www.purplelinemd.com/about-the-project/studies/11-feis-document

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