The Maryland "Purple Line" Transit Project Releases its Final Request for Proposals

by Nossaman LLP
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On July 28, 2014, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) and Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) issued the final request for proposals for a public-private partnership to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the “Purple Line” light rail transit project using an availability payment approach.  The Purple Line is a 16-mile route extending from New Carrollton in Prince George’s County to Bethesda in Montgomery County, with 21 stations and three links to the Washington DC, Metro and MARC commuter train systems.  The Purple Line has estimated project value of $2.37 billion, with the private sector expected to invest between $500 million and $900 million.  The winning concessionaire will be expected to operate and maintain the project for 30 years after construction (roughly 35 years overall).

Legislative and regulatory efforts to kick off the procurement began in earnest in mid 2013, with release of a request for qualifications issued in November 2013.  Four consortia were shortlisted and initial industry review of the proposal documents and draft contract began in February 2014.

The Purple Line has, as among its champions, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, the Democratic Party’s nominee for Maryland Governor.  MTA/MDOT also enjoys considerable federal support for the Purple Line, with the Obama Administration allocating $100 million toward construction costs in its March 2014 budget submission to Congress.  A “full funding grant agreement” is expected from the Federal Transit Administration and the Purple Line is seeking further federal funding support through FTA’s “New Starts Program.”

Proposals are due in January 2015, with the preferred proposer selected as “Concessionaire” in spring 2015.  Subject to Maryland’s Board of Public Works approval, the Concessionaire would likely begin construction by the end of 2015.

More information can be found on MDOT’s website including the primary RFP documents located under “Public-Private Partnerships.”

Simon Santiago and Katherine Bourdon contributed to this post.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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