Over the past few weeks, L.A. Metro has taken major steps to deploy an innovative partnership model to design and deliver the Sepulveda Transit Corridor. This corridor is one of the region’s most critical yet challenging transportation projects, running between the San Fernando Valley and the Westside of Los Angeles, and ultimately to Los Angeles International Airport.
There is tremendous demand for new transportation options in the Sepulveda corridor. However, designing and building a high-performing project through the Santa Monica Mountains and around complicated commercial and residential developments will be no easy feat. But it can’t happen soon enough.
In the next few months, Metro plans to begin the process of selecting private sector partners to join the agency in what is known as a Pre-Development Agreement (PDA) for the multi-billion dollar Sepulveda Corridor project. Under this unique project delivery approach, Metro would bring the expertise and creativity of the private sector to the table early, when critical design and engineering decisions can have the greatest impact on the ultimate success of the project.
This approach will maximize opportunities for the private sector to bring innovative solutions to the project, and uses financial incentives to drive the project relentlessly towards feasibility, with the goal of delivering the best possible project at the earliest possible date.
LA Metro has been investigating use of a PDA for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor for several years, and in July Metro’s Board of Directors unanimously gave agency staff the go-ahead to use the PDA model to develop and deliver the project. Because there are likely different ways to approach this project, the Board authorized Metro to bring on up to two PDA teams.
LA Metro hosted a forum in August to provide information about this approach to firms that might propose on this project, as well as to answer questions about Metro’s specific approach. The forum was attended by nearly 300 representatives from firms from around the globe, indicating strong private sector interest in Metro’s plans for the project.
Metro plans to begin the PDA selection process in late October, and finalize selection of the teams in mid-2020. The firms awarded a PDA contract will support the technical development of the project, with financial incentives to meet Metro’s project goals.
Measure M provides Metro with tremendous opportunities to meet the travel needs of L.A. County, but also an important responsibility to deliver the best possible projects at the earliest possible date. The PDA model opens the door wide for the best and brightest in the private sector to bring their ideas and expertise to support Metro as we seek to find innovative ways to rise to the challenge.
Colin Peppard is a Senior Director in the Office of Extraordinary Innovation