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Maryland board approves $183.5 million for Purple Line construction consultants

State officials say the consultants will keep some construction moving on the delayed light-rail project until the lead contractor is replaced.

Light-rail vehicles, including one seen here in May, are being manufactured for the Purple Line in Elmira Heights, N.Y. It is one of the contracts that the Maryland Transit Administration is managing until the project gets a new design-build contractor. (Denko Imaging) (Denko Imaging)

The Maryland Board of Public Works on Wednesday approved $183.5 million for a consultant overseeing construction contracts on the delayed Purple Line until the companies managing the light-rail project hire a new lead contractor.

The “program management consultant” will continue to oversee 150 contracts that the Maryland Transit Administration took over last fall to keep some work moving after the construction team led by Texas-based Fluor quit the 16-mile project over delay-related cost disputes. Most major construction has stalled, but work that has continued includes moving utility lines and manufacturing light-rail vehicles in Upstate New York, officials have said.

Maryland seeks $183.5 million for consultants on delayed Purple Line construction

State transportation officials say the $183.5 million is not a cost increase because it was already in the project’s $2 billion budget for work that would have done by the Fluor team. In December, the Board of Public Works — composed of Gov. Larry Hogan (R), Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp (D) and Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) — approved a $250 million legal settlement connected to the Fluor team’s departure.

The contract extension approved Wednesday brings to $398.5 million the total paid or allocated to the joint venture of engineering firms AECOM and RK&K, and consulting firm WSP.

Meet the Maryland transit official responsible for getting the Purple Line built