Montgomery Co. seeks $1.6M to cover Silver Spring Transit Center suit fees

WASHINGTON — The cost of completing the Silver Spring Transit Center went above and beyond original projections. By the time it was finished in 2015, the project was four years late and cost $50 million more than first estimated.

And each time the county executive staff went before the Montgomery County council to report on glitches in construction and added expenses, a promise came from Director of General Services David Dise: taxpayers would not have to spend a penny more than first projected. The cost of fixes to the flawed project would not come out of the taxpayers’ pockets.

But now Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett’s office is seeking an additional $1.6 million connected to the project. This time it’s for legal fees.

Montgomery County Attorney John Markovs says the additional costs go toward hiring experts who can attest to what the problems were, and why the firms could be at fault.

“The county is therefore seeking in excess of [$77 million] against the defendants, plus the attorneys’ fees and expert witness fees and the costs in bringing the claims against the defendants,” Markovs said in an email to WTOP.

Referring to the repeated delays in the project’s construction, Floreen noted there are a number of parties involved in the suit.

“The question’s going to be who: who’s going to pay us back and who’s going to compensate us for so much of the cost … both to the county coffers, but also to our residents,” Floreen said.

“We’re pretty certain we’re owed big-time,” Floreen adds.

County Council member Roger Berliner, who leads the council’s committee on transportation, said, “It doesn’t surprise me that it is going to cost us to make sure that our residents are held harmless as a function of the errors that were made in this process. So we’re going to have to fight hard to achieve that goal”.

Markovs says the county was joined by Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in suing the companies involved in designing and building the project. A trial date has been set for May — of 2017.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect a change in John Markovs’ name.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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