The Purple Line is being developed under a public-private partnership (P3) awarded to Purple Line Transit Partners in 2016. It is the second transit P3 project in the U.S., according to Jerry Jannetti, Northeast regional business manager for WSP.
“Our client was moving into new territory,” Meade said. “With the availability of public dollars becoming more constrained, the MTA was looking for alternative delivery methods that could bring financing to the table and reduce the risk to the state. A P3 was the solution.”
WSP supported the MTA through the P3 solicitation process and document preparation, including the technical provisions and performance requirements to find the right private partner to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the light rail and associated projects for 30 years.
“WSP was able to bring its P3 financial and project expertise to the table and shepherd the project through the procurement process,” Meade said.
The firm also provided planning/engineering, ridership forecasting, environmental impact analysis and documentation, cost estimating, stakeholder and third-party agreement management, and assisted with documentation requirements to obtain a $900 million federal capital grant.
WSP is currently providing contract management, design review, public outreach, and construction management quality oversight for MDOT and the MTA.
While the Purple Line is a state project, it success has been driven by heavy participation and funding from local counties.
“This has meant extensive collaboration and coordination are necessary for the project’s success,” Meade said. “The most important partnership is that with Purple Line Transit Partners – the concessionaire team that will design, build, finance, operate and maintain this line for 30 years. Other stakeholders, such as the University of Maryland, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority have been key partners in the process as well.”
The project also has the potential to reshape the built environment, attracting development – and redevelopment – around the stations.
“Transit, by its very nature, benefits the environment – providing a transportation alternative to the private automobile, which reduces emissions,” Meade said. “By focusing new development in station areas, rather than on undeveloped land, our farmland and open space is preserved, and less environmental impacts are experienced in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.”