Maryland DOT Secretary Pete Rahn today issued a Suspension of ‘Key Elements’ of the Purple Line Project, citing recent costly court litigation. (Graphic: Maryland Transit Authority)
Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn today suspended ‘Key Elements’ of the Purple Line Project, citing the May 30 ruling from Federal District Court Judge Richard Leon as “recent court litigation that has caused extensive and expensive delays.”
In today’s press release, Secretary Rahn explained: “With a legal path forward, MDOT’s and the Purple Line’s situation has changed from the unknown circumstances of just two weeks ago,” said Secretary Rahn. “With an unknown timeline for an appeal and dwindling available cash to carry the federal reimbursable costs being expended by MDOT; and to protect the taxpayers of Maryland, I am ordering that action be taken immediately.”
Mr. Rahn outlined several steps in his order:
- The contractor, Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP), is directed to suspend the execution of new construction contracts; and
- PLTP is directed to suspend all procurements for non-essential materials and equipment; and
- PLTP is directed to freeze all hiring of construction staff; and
- MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) is directed to suspend all hiring of Purple Line oversight staff; and
- MDOT MTA is directed to suspend state funding of county design reviews; and
- MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) and MDOT MTA are directed to pull from the Board of Public Works any requests for the purchase of right-of-way for the Purple Line project.
- All parties are directed to limit the obligation of further costs for the Purple Line project to those of agreed necessity.
Judge Leon also ruled that two of the three counts filed by the plaintiffs of the Purple Line lawsuit, which covered 25 issues, were without merit. Immediately after the ruling was announced, The Maryland Attorney General’s Office filed a notice that it planned to appeal Judge Leon’s order requiring additional study of ridership estimates.
Advocacy nonprofit Purple Line Now released a statement on its Facebook Page: “Purple Line Now is disappointed that it was necessary to take this step and hopes that it can be reversed after quick action by the court. This moves emphasizes the importance of the appeal filed yesterday by Maryland’s Attorney General. We hope that the courts can act quickly to restore the record of decision and put a swift end to these emergency steps. The fact that this action had to be taken demonstrates the continuing cost of the lawsuit.”
As we previously reported, Purple Line Transit Partners held an open house last week at Montgomery Blair High School to introduce the partnership to the public.