April 12, 2013

Md. MTA issues Request for Information on rail lines

On the heels of a public-private partnership (P3) bill recently signed into law, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking private sector input on best practices and innovative approaches to delivering and financing the Maryland National Capital Purple Line and the Baltimore Red Line.

The RFI was issued within days of Maryland’s new P3 legislation being signed into law by Gov. Martin O’Malley. The law, which was championed by Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, allows Maryland to attract private investment in public infrastructure by creating a strong, predictable and transparent framework for future public-private partnership projects, while protecting public assets and ensuring a strong workforce.

“With this new P3 law and the passage of the 2013 Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act that will generate $4.4 billion for transportation in the first six years alone, Maryland is ready to put Marylanders back to work and to create a balanced transportation network we can enjoy today and our children and grandchildren will benefit from for years to come,” said Gov. O’Malley.

Maryland’s new P3 legislation provides the private sector with a stronger, more predictable and streamlined process for future P3 projects. It protects public assets, ensures a strong workforce, requires competitive bidding for all projects and allows the private sector to submit new “unsolicited” concepts to address Maryland’s infrastructure needs.

Using the new P3 law as a guide, the RFI is the Administration’s first outreach effort with the private sector that will provide the MTA with valuable expertise as it explores various project delivery methods and prepares for future bid or proposal documents necessary to build and maintain cost-effective, modern transit lines.

The RFI will help the State move these key transit projects forward by helping MTA frame the financing, construction and operation plans of the State’s next generation of transit. MTA is looking at traditional project delivery methods in which the agency separately contracts for engineering, construction and railcars and then operates the line with its own employees.

Above and beyond this traditional project delivery approach, MTA is exploring methods that combine some or all of these steps in a manner that could result in savings of time and money as well as ensure high-quality service into the future.

A contractor also could partly finance the construction cost through a public-private partnership, taking full advantage of Lt. Governor Brown’s P3 law that organizes and streamlines public-private partnerships for state projects. The RFI also permits potential bidders to provide advice without becoming ineligible to bid on future work.

The state is targeting 2015 as a construction start date for the Purple Line and the Red Line with the goal of having the light rail lines completed and open for revenue service after 2020. Together, the lines will add 40 additional stations to Maryland’s rail transit network, addressing congestion, transit connectivity and economic development. MTA estimates that more than 7,000 jobs could be supported during the construction phase of the projects.

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