Maryland Seeks Private Investor for Transformative Transit Project

Flush with revenue from higher gas taxes, Maryland is moving ahead with plans for a 16-mile light rail line connecting the state's dense D.C. suburbs. It's seeking a private partner to help it construct and operate the planned Purple Line.
August 6, 2013, 6am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Maryland will seek a private company to build and operate a planned $2.2 billion light-rail Purple Line, marking the first time the state has used such financing on a public transit project," reports John Wagner. "With the Purple Line, Maryland is seeking a single private partner to design, construct, operate and maintain the project. In return, the state plans to offer annual payments throughout a 30- to 40-year contract period. Deductions would be made from the payments if the operator falls short on standards such as on-time performance, cleanliness and customer service, according to transportation officials."

"Maryland officials are counting on the federal government to cover about $900 million of the project’s construction cost and will look for contributions from local governments and the private sector as well, said Erin Henson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation. Construction could begin as early as 2015."

"Maryland and other states increasingly are turning to public-private partnerships to create more flexibility in financing and construction of large-scale projects at a time when government resources are limited," adds Wagner.


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Published on Sunday, August 4, 2013 in The Washington Post
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