With some key milestones being reached this week, we wanted to provide a quick update on the Sepulveda Transit Corridor project. This is Metro’s effort to build a fast, high-capacity transit line between the San Fernando Valley, the Westside and LAX.
•On Wednesday, August 26, proposals from private firms are due for the project’s Predevelopment Agreement (PDA). Metro will select up to two PDA teams to help with project planning and design and propose transit solutions for the project. These concepts will be refined and evaluated during the environmental review phase.
At the conclusion of the PDA process, a team may submit a formal proposal to Metro to build the line as a public-private partnership (P3) that would include private sector participation in building and financing the project. This approach could improve performance, reduce financial risk and possibly accelerate the project.
•On Thursday, Aug. 27, the Metro Board of Directors will consider a $48.3-million contract with HNTB Corporation, Terry A. Hayes Associates Inc. and AECOM Technical Services to do the required environmental studies and advanced conceptual engineering for the project.
Some important background: In late 2019, Metro released the Feasibility Study for the project. The study identified four potential routes — three heavy rail lines and one monorail — between the Van Nuys Metrolink Station and the Expo Line. Travel times ranged from 16 to 26 minutes, meaning the project would be faster than driving a comparable route on the 405 or surface streets at many times of the day and night.
After next Wednesday’s deadline for the PDA proposals, Metro staff will — as usual during a procurement — spend several months evaluating the proposals. After selecting one or two highest ranked proposal(s), staff will return with a recommendation to the Metro Board of Directors in early 2021. This graphic explains the planning process and how the PDA fits into that process:
At that time, the Board will decide over the course of two meetings which firm or firms will be awarded a PDA contract from Metro. The Board will also be informed of which transit concepts will be studied as project alternatives in the project’s formal environmental studies. The alternatives for environmental review are likely to include concepts from the PDA proposals and from the project’s Feasibility Study.
Metro is keenly aware of the public’s interest in seeing the PDA proposals before the issue goes to the Board. While Metro fully intends to be transparent about how the proposals are scored by our evaluation team, federal best procurement practices, California government code and Metro policies require our staff experts to evaluate the proposals without outside influence. That’s why we are not releasing proposals at this time.
As is the case for every procurement, the contract recommendation will be made public through the issuance of the Notice of Intent to Award and release of the draft Committee agendas no less than 72 hours before the Committees meet. The staff report to the Board will include the names of all proposing teams and their proposed concepts, as well as a summary of why the selected team or teams are being recommended.
Staff plans to initially present the recommendation for the PDA to the Board and then return to the Board the following month for the action to award a contract to one or more private sector teams. This will allow the public sufficient time to review the Board report, learn more about the procurement process and the factors that led to the recommendation for award. And, of course, provide any comments to Metro or directly to the Metro Board.
Project stakeholders will be informed about how to submit comments to Metro and to the Board in advance of the Board’s action on the item, whether the Board meets in person or virtually as is now necessary due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The need for the Sepulveda project is indisputable. That’s why we are focused on completing a PDA solicitation with the highest levels of integrity, with consideration of the proposals’ technical and financial merits as well as public feedback received to date. Metro appreciates the huge amount of public interest in the project and is committed to giving the public ample time to contribute to the decision making process. That begins with the PDA selection and will continue over the course of the estimated four-year environmental review process.