Metro pursues Pre-Development Agreement (PDA) approach for Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project

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

7 replies

  1. It sounds like the PDA is a form of a Public-Private Partnership. Wasn’t the WSAB supposed to have priority status in receiving a P3 investment (from February’s Board Report)? I imagine Sepulveda is a much more lucrative project for investors just curious about the status of WSAB’s investment timeline if it is to be completed by 2028.

    • Hi Bobby;

      Good question! The Sepulveda PDA is anticipated to lead to P3 delivery of the project, but it’s not a P3 per se. The PDA phase is expected to take a few years, and during that time the WSAB is scheduled for groundbreaking, likely via a P3. In other words, the Sepulveda process is getting started first, but will take longer, and therefore the WSAB would still begin P3 delivery first, and remains the priority for P3 investment per the Board’s direction.

      Hope that explains it.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  2. Wait? What? The 405 and Sepulveda end at LAX? Torrance, Carson, and Dominguez Hills will be shocked to here this.

    • That’s what the Green Line is for.

      Don’t understand why people complain about the Blue Line and Santa Ana Line being “duplicate” yet have no problem having duplicate rail lines between LAX and Torrance and probably even Long Beach.

      • The wording in the article is such that the Corridor, not the Project is said to end at LAX. The project may well end at LAX, but the Sepulveda transportation corridor (lower case), does not end at LAX. Having driven the 405 both ways between the 118 and the 110, I can assure you that the corridor is alive and kicking south of LAX. Looping the Green line back through Wilmington to the Blue Line is something that I think would be beneficial. WASB, yes please.

    • There would have to be multiple tunnels to hand the same traffic as the 2 tunnels that might be used for light rail. And this would add 1 or 2 more mode switches (which add delays). ESFV to Boring to West side LRT.