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Legal Action Possible Over Silver Spring Transit Center

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A construction error at the unopened Silver Spring Transit Center has council members in Montgomery County considering legal action.

The center, which will be named for former Maryland senator Paul Sarbanes, has faced numerous construction and funding issues, but the latest problem has lawmakers at the breaking point. On the center's second level, concrete slabs were not poured thick enough. Making matters worse, says council president Roger Berliner, it wasn't the contractor working on the project that spotted the problem.

"County officials saw flaking on the second floor," says Berliner. "And that flaking suggested, if you excuse the expression, 'Houston, we have a problem here.'"

Council members met in a rare closed session to discuss what legal action they might take. Berliner offered few details on that meeting, but did say the deal with the contractor allows the county to issue fines if the project is not completed on time.

"So there's X amount of dollars every day that will be owed to the county for any delays associated with this mistake," says Berliner. "And of course, it will be up to the contractor to fix this mistake."

Berliner adds that they're still trying to determine the date that the fines would start. Another date undetermined is when the center might open, as both the county and Metro must wait for the concrete issues to be fixed. The center will feature direct access to both Metrorail and MARC trains, as well as bays for Metrobus, Ride-On, MTA, and University of Maryland shuttle buses.

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