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. 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 the concessionaire in spring 2015. Subject to approval by the Maryland Board of Public Works, the concessionaire would likely begin construction by the end of 2015.