County settles on Silver Spring Transit Center Featured

County Executive Ike Leggett praised a $25 million settlement between the County and developers of the Paul S. Sarbanes Silver Spring Transit Center last week.

Months after the County sued the transit center’s contractor Foulger-Pratt, its designer Parsons Brinckerhoff and the construction inspector Robert Balter, they settled May 30. The County claimed the developers and designers of the Silver Spring Transit Center were negligent and breached the contractor when they designed, built and inspected the transit center, but settled before the matter was decided by a jury.

"I am pleased that the County has settled the lawsuit we brought to recover taxpayer costs associated with the repair and remediation of the Silver Spring Transit Center,” Leggett said in statement after the settlement. “This is very much in the public interest. The $25 million payment to the County will cover 90 percent of the hard costs we incurred to deliver a safe and durable Silver Spring Transit Center.”

In the lawsuit, attorneys representing Montgomery County claimed that transit center was poorly constructed citing cracked concrete at one of the structure at the transit center as proof the builders poorly built it.

“This was about basically design and construction flaws,” said Patrick Lacefield, a spokesperson for Montgomery County.

The Paul S. Sarbanes Silver Spring Transit Center opened in 2015, at the Silver Spring Metro station as a three-story transportation hub for rail and bus service in downtown Silver Spring. In the lawsuit the County claimed that the transit center came in at over $50 million over budget and several years late. According to County documents, the construction of the center was planed for December 2011 and costs were estimated to be at $90.7 million. The project ended up costing the County $140 million.

For years the transit center has been an issue for the County. In 2014, before the transit center opened, the County hired engineering consultants to examine potential structural problems with the center, concluding the County needed to spend more money to fix structural beams at the center.

In February, 10 months after the County controversially raised the recordation tax premium, the County Council voted to approve $4.2 million to the Montgomery County Department of General Services to fund litigation related to the Silver Spring Transit Center.

Leggett said in a letter he sent to County Council President Roger Berliner (D-1) the funds for the litigation came from the recordation tax premium, which the Council raised last May claiming it would be used for school construction and capital improvement programs.



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