Metro today released its recommendation for two private sector teams to conduct Pre-Development work to advance the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project, a massively complex transportation project that seeks to directly connect the San Fernando Valley and the Westside via high-speed, high-capacity transit line.
Two different fixed guideway technologies will be further developed as possible transit solutions for the corridor. Metro is recommending LA SkyRail Express for its proposed monorail concept and Sepulveda Transit Corridor Partners – Bechtel for its proposed heavy rail concept. Both proposals present benefits and trade-offs and will be refined further, based in part on public feedback and the environmental process moving forward.
At its sole discretion, Metro retains the ability to move forward with one of the private sector teams, if any, if its transit concept is ultimately chosen as the project’s locally preferred alternative, or LPA.
One of the private sector teams may have an opportunity, after the LPA is selected and once project development is complete, to submit a proposal to build the line, potentially accelerating construction and improving project performance.
Metro has long sought to pursue an innovative partnership model known as a Pre-Development Agreement (PDA) to enable early contractor involvement in the project. It allows for innovations in design, engineering, construction approach, financing and operations.
Under this unique project delivery approach, Metro aims to 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 project’s ultimate success.
After selection of the LPA by the Metro Board, Metro would have the opportunity to invite the successful partner team, if any, whose solution aligns with Metro’s LPA to submit a proposal to deliver the project, likely through a public-private partnership. Metro would also retain the right to pursue a different project development and delivery path.
After contracts are awarded, Metro will review both proposed concepts as part of its environmental review process starting this fall. Public input is a critical component and will be solicited and collected for all alternatives studied during the environmental review period.
Metro originally issued an RFP for Pre-Development work in October 2019. Four prospective teams submitted proposals for Metro’s PDA contract opportunity, representing strong private sector interest in the project. The recommended firms committed to meet Metro’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, or DBE, goals in Metro’s Request for Proposals.
Source readers may have some questions about the proposals:
What are the next steps in the planning process for the project?
The environmental phase will begin with a scoping period in the fall of this year. After the scoping period, we will begin working on the draft environmental impact report (DEIR). Completion of the DEIR will be followed by public hearings, and ultimately by the Metro Board’s selection of a LPA.
What is the scoping process?
Project scoping process is the 30-day period at the beginning of the environmental process during which project planners identify existing issues that a new project will address and alternatives that will be considered. Scoping is also when criteria are identified that will be used to evaluate the project alternatives. During scoping, the project will solicit public input regarding the type and extent of environmental analyses to be conducted.
What is a PDA?
A PDA is a project delivery method that provides an opportunity for early private sector participation in the design of a project in partnership with Metro. PDAs can be used on particularly complex or challenging projects to bring innovation and problem-solving early in the design process, when the most decisions that impact the success of project delivery are often made.
Under this approach, a selected contractor team provides technical work to support the project development process. This takes place in parallel to environmental review and approval process, which is entirely overseen and directed by Metro. The development of the project will incorporate technical analysis and public feedback into design decisions, with multiple “off-ramps” where Metro can choose to shift to a different delivery approach. If the partnership is successful in defining a feasible project that is selected by the Metro Board as the LPA, Metro may engage with the PDA team to agree to an approach to build the project.
Will I be able to learn more about the PDA concepts before the Board votes?
Yes. This month’s Board Report is only a receive and file item. The Metro Board is not scheduled to vote on the staff recommendation until March 25, giving the public time to learn about the concepts. Metro will actively seek public input during the official scoping period coming this fall.
What is the dollar value of the PDA proposals?
Metro will recommend a PDA contract with L.A. SkyRail Express for an amount not to exceed $63.6 million and a PDA contract with Sepulveda Transit Corridor Partners – Bechtel for an amount not to exceed $69.8 million.
How would Metro pay for the project?
The Sepulveda project is funded in part by Measure M, the transportation sales tax approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2016. The total project will receive $9.5 billion in funding from Measure M and other local, state and federal sources. A funding plan for the proposed concepts will be developed through the PDA and environmental processes.
How has Metro encouraged innovative transportation ideas from the private sector?
Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington spearheaded the agency’s creation of an Unsolicited Proposal policy in 2016. This policy enables private sector firms to offer Metro their ideas for doing things differently to improve mobility in L.A. County. Leveraging private sector perspectives and expertise to co-develop solutions is a win-win-win for Metro, its customers and businesses. Since Metro’s Unsolicited Proposal policy was adopted, Metro has received over 250 unsolicited proposals, among the first of which were three unsolicited proposals for Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project concepts. These proposals encouraged Metro to pursue a PDA for this project, knowing of the high level of private sector interest. They also demonstrated that this policy is a divining rod for galvanizing active private sector interest in Metro projects of regional significance.
Categories: Transportation News