Silver Spring Transit Center Plan (Photos & Video)

The top story on County Report This Week: the Silver Spring Transit Center. Susan Kenedy reports.

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General Services Director David Dise briefed the Montgomery County Council on the status of the Silver Spring Transit Center on April 9.

The 75-minute briefing included comments and questions from all nine Council members.

Council President Nancy Navarro reiterated that the Council was not happy with the delays or cost overruns. Still, she said, the Council’s number one priority was to open a safe structure. During his briefing, Dise referenced a memo (posted below) that he sent over to Navarro on April 5 outlining next steps.

Dise’s brief update was followed by a question and answer session. Council member Roger Berliner was first up and he was concerned with future costs. He said it was important that any further costs associated with the project not be footed by the taxpayers unless ordered by a court of law. Council member Nancy Floreen asked questions about the consultants, future costs, Council oversight and overall expertise. Council member Phil Andrews wanted to know what was learned and if there would be changes the next time a project of this magnitude was under construction on the county’s watch. Council member George Leventhal noted that he appreciated the information being shared and the strain that Dise must be under. Still, he noted the Council looks after the taxpayers. He specifically wanted to know why he read about one contractor’s willingness to cooperate in the Washington Post and not in his packet. Council member Hans Riemer had some questions about the specific timeline and asked if there was any way passersby could traverse the property to reduce commute times around the structure. Dise said this would be hard to accomplish because the contractor controlled the property. Riemer also noted that travel is a hardship for many in that area. When it was his turn, Council member Craig Rice summarized the problems and restated what remained outstanding to accomplish in order to open the structure. Council member Valerie Ervin asked several questions of Dise. For one, she wanted to know when the county knew there was a problem and why it didn’t know sooner. She also said more questions would be coming from her office via a memo to Dise. Council member Marc Elrich said he thought the time spent on the briefing was well spent and he talked about he had informally researched the contractors’ backgrounds and expertise, etc. Dise is expected to regularly update the Council on the status of the project.

As mentioned above, Dise sent over an April 5 memo to the county’s elected leaders outlining the remediation process for fixing the construction problems. You can read the memo below:

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