Saturday marked a 50-day contractual deadline by which the consortium of companies overseeing the project had to respond to the contractor’s May 1 notice that it planned to walk off the job because of unpaid — and mounting — cost overruns. The consortium and its contractor have been in intense negotiations with the Maryland Transit Administration since the notice was filed because the contractor said the overruns were the state’s responsibility.
A spokesman for the consortium, known as Purple Line Transit Partners, declined to comment Saturday on the negotiations or the status of the construction contractor. A spokeswoman for the contractor, a joint venture known as Purple Line Transit Constructors, referred questions to the consortium.
A spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Transportation also referred questions to the consortium, saying it “has the responsibility to ensure that construction work on the Purple Line continues.”
In a statement, MDOT spokeswoman Erin Henson said the state and consortium “are continuing to work hard every day on reconciliation for a successful path forward for the Purple Line.”
The reticence on all sides probably signals that they have agreed to continue the talks past the June 20 deadline. Maryland Transportation Secretary Gregory I. Slater hinted at a time extension during a recent video briefing before the Prince George’s County Council.
“Over the next week to two weeks, I think you’re going to start to see a lot of conversation and activity to kind of a clearer path,” Slater said at the Tuesday meeting.
The contractor has said the 16-mile light rail line’s construction is more than 2½ years behind schedule and $755 million over its $2 billion budget. Delays have stemmed from an ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit, as well as problems with obtaining right of way, state permits and design approvals, the contractor has said.