Four teams shortlisted for Purple Line P3

Maryland’s DOT has selected four out of six teams to compete in the next stage of the $2.2bn light rail P3 project.

The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Maryland Transit Authority (MTA) have selected four private sector teams that will be allowed to submit proposals to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Purple Line, a 16-mile light rail line that will cost $2.2 billion, MDOT and MTA said in a joint statement.

The four teams that will be invited to submit bids once MDOT/MTA issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) in the Spring are:

– Maryland Purple Partners – comprising Vinci Concessions, Walsh Investors, and InfraRed Capital Partners;
– Maryland Transit Connectors – teaming John Laing Investments with Kiewit Development and Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate;
– Purple Line Transit Partners – combining Meridiam Infrastructure Purple Line, Fluor Enterprises and Star America Fund; and
– Purple Plus Alliance – with Macquarie Capital Group and Skanska Infrastructure Development.

The teams will have to submit their full proposals in the autumn of 2014, while a preferred bidder is expected to be announced either in late 2014 or early 2015, with construction set to begin next year.

“We were quite pleased with the overall response,” MTA Administrator Robert L. Smith said. “The interest expressed by so many well-regarded companies is a testament to both the value of the Purple Line as a transportation asset and the power of public-private partnership to deliver value for citizens over a long period.”

The project was announced just weeks after Maryland passed the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013 in April last year. The line will run east-west inside the Capital Beltway between Bethesda in Montgomery County and New Carrollton in Prince George’s County with 21 stations planned.

Of the $2.2 billion which the project will cost, the private sector partner is expected to invest between $500 million and $900 million, according to the statement. A combination of federal, state and local monies will also be used to fund the project.

Once the Purple Line is completed the private sector partner will receive annual payments from the MTA, which will also be responsible for setting fares. However, deductions will be made if the contractor fails to meet pre-determined performance targets, the agencies said.

MDOT and MTA have also taken measures to ensure economic benefits for the residents of the state by including such provisions in the solicitation as: setting goals for participation in the construction, operations and maintenance by Disadvantaged Businesses Enterprises; encouraging the purchase of equipment made in the US; and encouraging the provision of wages and benefits that are comparable to existing operations in Maryland.