Happy Together: How Texas Helps Firms Like Fluor Succeed and Come Back for More

Just over three years ago, Irving-based Fluor Corp. and its partners won a huge deal for a light-rail project in Maryland, and the honeymoon didn’t last long. The same month that Fluor closed on the $5.6 billion contract, a federal judge heard a lawsuit to stop it. He supported the challenge on ridership projections and environmental issues, and less than a year later, the state hit the brakes.Maryland ordered Fluor’s team to temporarily suspend new contracts and purchases, and to not hire construction crews. State officials halted design reviews and pulled requests to buy right-of-way.“To protect the taxpayers of Maryland, I am ordering that action be taken immediately,” said Pete Rahn, the state’s transportation secretary.It took almost a year for a federal appeals court to pave the way for construction to begin on the Purple Line. More problems emerged, ranging from small business owners fearing disruptions to neighbors complaining about noise from overnight drilling -- and getting work halted at 9 p.m.Fast-forward to 2019, and the Fluor team said the project was running at least a year late with $300 million in cost overruns. And Maryland wasn't covering the overruns.“We disagree with what they’re asking for,” a state official told The Washington Post.  Continue reading...

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