Metro receives unsolicited proposal to accelerate Orange Line conversion to light rail through a public-private partnership

Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has received an unsolicited proposal from Fluor Enterprises, Inc., to accelerate conversion of the Orange Line from bus rapid transit to light rail through a public-private partnership (P3). This is the first proposal Metro has received for this Measure M project and the tenth proposing an alternative delivery method for a major capital project.

“Thanks to the voters who supported Measure M, the private sector is taking the opportunity to work with Metro,” said Metro Board Chair John Fasana. “Metro’s thoughtful approach to exploring innovations can help ensure the voters receive the best return on their investment.”

Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation (OEI) is now in the process of assembling a Phase 1 review team to evaluate the concept on its financial and technical merit.

“Our call for unsolicited proposals has prompted this proposal and we see that as proof positive that we are stimulating excitement in the private sector for Metro projects,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “These proposals can be game changers in delivering better mobility to our region sooner than expected.”

The review team will be charged with reaching a decision on whether to advance the proposal to the next phase of review, decline further review or proceed directly to a competitive solicitation.

“Since we announced our new unsolicited proposal policy to the public one year ago, we have been gratified by the strong response,” said Metro Chief Innovation Officer Joshua Schank. “We are seeing innovation at its best in the proposals and we look forward to delivering projects and programs – supported by P3s – to improve the quality of life of our region.”

Since opening in 2005 between North Hollywood and Warner Center in Woodland Hills, the 18-mile Orange Line has exceeded even the most liberal ridership projections. In 2012, it was extended from Canoga Park to the Chatsworth Metrolink and Amtrak station. It is the busiest bus route in the San Fernando Valley.

Related: Changes in the works to speed up Orange Line.

13 replies

  1. So what happened to the other unsolicited ones? They were mentioned for a hot second then dropped off the face of the earth. With the length of time it takes to get them from proposal to implementation we might as well have metro construct them.

  2. As much as I agree tthat the Orange Line should be an LRT, I feel that the money woud be far better spent undergounding the line between Metro Center and the Blue Line and Expo Line rights-of-way, with a burrowing junction,.

    • You know, Frank, I really hear that. Still, I think it’s exciting to see traction moving on this project that seemed like a near impossibility for a long time.

      Here’s something out of left field…what about converting the line to trolleybus operation? Just throwing it out there. Seems like a good candidate. The route is set, and it uses a dedicated fleet. The fleet will be due for replacement soon enough. Then again… I recognize rail really helps address some serious capacity constraints on the line. The orange line sure does get CROWDED.

      • ^^ CROWDED as in packed body to body like sardines???

        @Frank Mastroly they could make some of those streets go under the blue line?..

        • Can increase acceleration between stops and thereby allow more frequency of service without having to add more buses.

  3. It is always the best to build another rapid transit route serving the SFV rather than disrupting the existing orange line BRT service. I suggest considering another rapid transit running northern part of SFV (Chatsworth, Northridge, North Hill, Mission Hill, San Fernando/Sun Valley) or upgrading the existing Metrolink tracks (Chatsworth to Burbank) into a modernization and electrification rail to provide frequent regional express services. (notice that the AV line will be upgraded as a part of CHSR project)
    But for now you should be working on testing a potential 82 ft bus on orange line and reduce the travel time. Again I do not recommend to convert the orange line into LRT.

    • You really believe an even larger-capacity bus that what’s in-use now would “reduce the travel time” better/more than conversion to LRT?

      • well I just want to have another options of rapid transit route in the valley. The only thing I do not like the conversion to LRT is because the construction from converting BRT to LRT will disrupt the current BRT service for at least several years. And during the construction periods riders will have to suffer even longer travel time, delays as well as inconvenience service. In general speaking, LA Metro BRT system tend to have less delays and disruption comparing to other Metro rails. If the travel speed of BRT is higher than 55mph (max speed of LRT) with some grade separations and signal priority, it could perform as good as a LRT, and Metro won’t have to spend a lot of money to do the conversion to LRT.

  4. Hi Metro!

    I think this is a great idea. I would also like to emphasize that the orange line light rail to Warner Center could be a major terminus much like how the expo line end in Santa Monica with a huge esplanade greeting people into the areas shops, restaurants, jobs, and homes.

    The Warner Center master plan is a beacon of hope for growth in a region that has until recently been resistant to it. This line should be built to plan for the future of this soon to be burgeoning hub.

    I am completely for this being a 2 pronged light rail line with Termini in Chatsworth AND Warner Center!

  5. People counters can be useful to insure that all passengers have paid for their passage on both busses and trains. I just saw this on Alibaba (I don’t have any connection with them), but I thought that it might be of interest.