Guessing whether Governor Hogan will decide to proceed with the Purple Line Project is becoming quite a parlor game for interested parties. Shortly after the election in November, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) extended the date by which the chosen concessionaires (private contractor / entrepreuneurs to finance and build the project) were to submit their bids to build and maintain the project from January to March 12, 2015, i.e. after Governor Hogan’s inauguration, in order to allow Governor Hogan input on the project. The Governor has not indicated what his decision will be. Rather, he is keeping his options and opinions close to his vest while interested parties, both pro and con, continue to aggressively lobby him.
Governor Hogan appointed Pete K. Rahn as acting Secretary of Transportation. Mr. Rahn has said that he and the Governor are looking for ways to reduce the cost of the project, as opposed to terminate it, or change the length or chosen route. Mr. Rahn met with the chosen concessionaires who will be bidding to construct and maintain the project and asked them to look for possible cost reductions. The State has now extended the date for bids to be submitted by five months from March 12th to mid-August. Based on reporting by the Washington Post, the length of the extension appears to be two-fold: first, to permit Governor Hogan to make a decision on whether to proceed with the project by mid-May and; second, if the decision is to go forward, to provide the concessionaires 3 additional months to complete and submit their bids. The post-legislative session timing of the Governor’s decision has some project advocates concerned that the Governor is simply delaying a decision to kill the project until after the legislature completes its session, in order to avoid political blow-back on the Governor’s other priorities.
In the meantime, the first phase of the project, i.e. acquisition of the private property needed for the project, appears to have stalled. The State continues to contract with appraisers to appraise the property needed—and internally review the appraisals it receives—but no offers are being extended to property owners. In addition, the Board of Public works will not be considering or approving any agreed acquisitions in March. The bottom line appears to be that the State appears to be trying to do all it can to keep the project as close to “on schedule” as possible—without obligating the State to go forward with the project or purchase property before the Governor makes his decision. And that decision is still a couple of months away.
The eminent domain attorneys at Miller, Miller & Canby will review any offer made by the State without charge to determine whether we believe you may be entitled to greater compensation than has been offered by the State. If you are interested in a no obligation review of your case, or if you have any questions about your rights or the condemnation process, please call our office at 301-762-5212 and ask to speak with one of our eminent domain attorneys, Jim Thompson or Joe Suntum. To learn more about our eminent domain and condemnation law practice and representative cases, click here.