Maryland Purple Line threatened

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MARC Rider

Apr 5, 2011
Looks like the contractors had so many overruns and then got hit by the Coronavirus that they want out of the contract unless the state forks over mucho $$$$. It's not clear who's responsible for the overruns or whether the contractor lowballed their bid, nonetheless, they have the state in a bind. (behind a paywall)

Apparently the state and the contractors are still in talks, so it hasn't collapsed yet. If it does, the project is only 40% done, and there will be a lot of construction debris littering Montgomery County.

The moral of the story is don't always take the lowest bid!


OBS Chief
Oct 25, 2011
"I felt exactly how you would feel if you were getting ready to launch and knew you were sitting on top of 2 million parts — all built by the lowest bidder on a government contract."

— Attributed to John Glenn


Lead Service Attendant
Jan 23, 2019
One thing that does need to be revisited is the asinine lowest bidder rules. It always seems that the lowest bidder always ends up costing more than the next option, gets finished late and with shoddy work. I can understand taking the "lowest bidder" with the caveat that the company building the thing has the best on time record with the least defects. Or plan B is don't take federal money for projects.


Jul 16, 2010
A way to prevent low bidder failures is to make the performance bonds very high and strict. Then make the bonds effective for 5 years to find hidden flaws. The bonding companies will then refuse to bond the bad actors.
There were two incidents in our area where performance bonds were used to good effect. One involved the local Interstate construction when the contractor, after numerous delays and stoppages, walked off the job. The state collected the performance money from their insurers and contracted the work out to another company.
The other involved a home developer who went bankrupt. The performance money was collected by the county who then used it to finish the sewer/road jobs that were supposed to be done by the developer.