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Competing technologies to be explored for $5.7bn LA metro line

14 Feb 21 LA Metro has chosen two teams that will each explore a different approach for its planned Sepulveda Transit Corridor project.

The project seeks build a high-speed high-capacity line that will provide a direct connection between the San Fernando Valley and the Westside in California, USA. Two different fixed guideway technologies will be developed as possible transit solutions for the corridor. Cost of the new transit service has been put at approximately US$5.7bn (£4.1bn) and it is scheduled to open by 2033-35.

In March, Metro will ask its board of directors to approve two multi-million-dollar contracts for pre-development work. Metro is recommending LA SkyRail Express for its proposed monorail concept and Sepulveda Transit Corridor Partners – Bechtel for its proposed heavy rail concept.

Metro will recommend a PDA contract with L.A. SkyRail Express for an amount not to exceed US$63.6m (£45.9m) and a PDA contract with Sepulveda Transit Corridor Partners – Bechtel for an amount not to exceed US$69.8m (£50.4m).

Metro said that 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 (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.

Metro said that it has long sought to pursue a pre-development agreement (PDA) to enable early contractor involvement in the project. It said that the PDA allows for innovations in design, engineering, construction approach, financing and operations.

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 its LPA to submit a proposal to deliver the project. This would likely be 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, though five had been invited.

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