News / MegaProject 170: Bidder for Maryland light rail P3 challenged over Nazi deportation

MegaProject 170: Bidder for Maryland light rail P3 challenged over Nazi deportation

🕔 February 11, 2014

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A bill introduced in the Maryland General Assembly would prohibit one of the firms bidding for the Maryland light-rail Purple Line project.

Keolis S.A., the company behind the accusations, is a subsidiary of the French national railway network (SNCF). The company is part of a consortium that was sort-listed on January 10, 2014, the Maryland Purple Line Partners.

The consortium is also formed by VINCI ConcessionsWalsh InvestorsInfraRed Capital Partners, and ALSTOM Transport.

According to this bill, companies connected to the deportations of people to Nazi death camps must pay restitution before they can obtain a contract to work on the project.

Between March 1942 and August 1944, SNCF transported 76,000 Jews through France to Nazi concentration camps. U.S. and Canadian pilots who had been shot down over France were also included in this massive movement. They were placed on SNCF trains and sent to Buchenwald and Auschwitz.

SNCF America president Alain Leray said the state-owned company has already disclosed its "tragic World War II past" in 2011 and said he may argue that the bill would be "discriminatory" against SNCF.

The Purple Line is a 16-mile light rail line that runs east-west inside the Capital Beltway between Bethesda in Montgomery County and New Carrollton in Prince George's County with 21 stations planned that will provide direct connections to Metrorail's Orange Line, Green Line and two branches of the Red Line, and the MARC Brunswick, Camden and Penn Lines. The total project cost is $2.2 billion, with the private sector expected to invest between $500 and $900 million.

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