Secretary Greg Slater
Harry R. Hughes Department of Transportation Building
7201 Corporate Center Drive Hanover, MD 21076
May 20, 2020
Re: State Negotiations with Purple Line Transit Constructors (PLTC)
Dear Secretary Slater:
Thank you for your and the State’s dedication to the Purple Line light rail project. The Purple Line is a transformational project that will bring increased economic opportunity to Maryland residents in the DC region. The State’s continued support is vital for the project to be completed in a timely and financially responsible manner.
The Coalition for Smarter Growth is extremely concerned by Purple Line Transit Constructors’ (PLTC) threat to walk away from the project due to delays and cost overruns. We take no position on the dispute, but strongly urge you to quickly come to an agreement that prioritizes a timely completion of the Purple Line.
The project is already a year behind schedule due to many factors, including some that have now been resolved. However, failing to negotiate an agreement and having to find a new construction team will undoubtedly result in even more delays and costs. The state should explore all of its options to ground negotiations in realistic cost and time expectations, with a high-level negotiator empowered to make a deal to keep the Purple Line on track. To remain true to its public commitment to the Purple Line, Maryland must take action.
We also recognize that this is a particularly difficult time for transit and we appreciate the steps the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) has taken to protect transit operators and riders. Transit, including the Purple Line, will be a key part of our post-COVID-19 economic recovery and growing Maryland with less congestion, safer roadways, and cleaner air.
In conclusion, we urge the State to do all it can to negotiate an agreement that keeps the Purple Line’s construction on track. The Purple Line remains of great value for the over 230,000 Marylanders who live along the corridor, and public investment in this project will be repaid many times over by the economic activity it supports. Thank you for your work on this important project.
Stewart Schwartz Executive Director
CC: Governor Larry Hogan
Maryland Transit Administrator Kevin B. Quinn, Jr.
Purple Line Transit Partners
County Executive Marc Elrich
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks
Montgomery County Council
Prince George’s County Council