Metro to accept Silver Spring Transit Center later this month

WASHINGTON — Metro’s Board of Directors unanimously approved a measure on Thursday to allow Interim General Manager Jack Requa to accept the Silver Spring Transit Center from Montgomery County, a precursor to the transit agency opening the facility this fall.

Board members expressed concern about the transit center because of the highly publicized problems with the construction. Some questioned what Metro will get and how the agency will be protected against potential problems in the future.

“It’s been in the news,” Requa says. “There are some concerns and we’re still working with the county to not only open the facility, but to also address any problems in the future.”

The Silver Spring Transit Center is four years late and roughly $50 million over budget. It’s been the source of consternation for Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and the County Council.

Among the problems were issues with cracks in the cement, and the strength of the girders and beams to handle the weight of buses going through the facility over time. Montgomery County officials were worried about torsion and shearing at the facility.

Montgomery County plans to sue contractor Folger-Pratt over the problem to recoup the money, addressing a promise from Leggett that the costs to repair the facility would not come from taxpayers.

“I’m not aware that they are going to file a suit against them,” Requa says. “If they do, then we might consider that as an alternative. But those are things that we continue to discuss with the county.”

Metro’s concerns about the Silver Spring Transit Center are focused on the long term. Metro believes it will cost more in maintenance than the standard wear and tear costs at a similar facility.

Metro hopes to open the transit center before the end of September.

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