The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has approved two contracts totalling USD 133.5 million with private companies for pre-development work on the Sepulveda Transit Corridor project using the public-private model for the first time.
Sepulveda Transit Corridor Partners – Bechtel consortium was awarded a USD 69.9 million contract to further develop its proposed heavy rail transit solution concept. More than 60 per cent of the partner team’s proposed heavy rail concept would travel underground, with the remainder of the line traveling primarily in an aerial section. A Valley-to-Westside trip would take just under 20 minutes according to the proposal. USD 10.8 billion is the estimated cost to construct this proposal, which includes automatic operations.
LA SkyRail Express was awarded a USD 63.6 million contract to develop its proposed monorail concept that would be an aerial alignment primarily within the I-405 right-of-way between the Valley and Westside. Proposed travel times via monorail are estimated at 24 minutes. USD 6.1 billion is the estimated cost to construct the monorail system.
Sepulveda Transit Corridor is planned to connect the San Fernando Valley with the Westside and eventually LAX airport via a high-speed, high-capacity transit line, connecting two busy destinations for residents and workers. The primary travel option for most people currently is driving the I-405 freeway through the Sepulveda Pass, a choke point that is one of the country’s most congested roads.
Following the contracts’ approval, Metro plans to begin the environmental review process this autumn, where concept designs for these and other alternatives will be advanced or refined through extensive, ongoing public feedback and technical investigation and analysis.
At its sole discretion, Metro retains the ability to continue the partnership through final design with one of the private sector teams if its transit concept is consistent with the project’s locally preferred alternative (LPA), that will be selected by the Metro Board. Metro also retains the right to pursue a different project and delivery path, if necessary. After the LPA will be selected, one of the private sector teams will have the opportunity to submit a proposal to build and potentially help finance the project, accelerating the construction and improving project performance.
The pre-development agreements enable early contractor involvement in Metro’s transit project and increase the likelihood that the project can be built via a public-private partnership that allows for innovations in design, engineering, construction approach, financing and operations. The PDAs will 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.
The Sepulveda Transit Corridor project is funded in part by Measure M, the transport sales tax approved by 71 per cent of Los Angeles County voters in 2016. The total project will receive USD 9.5 billion in funding from Measure M and other local, state and federal sources.