The California High-Speed Rail Authority on Wednesday issued a "request for expressions of interest" (RFEI) as a first step in the procurement process that will award contracts for the first $5.5 billion in construction and ultimately for the design and construction of the entire system, its trainsets, and its operations and maintenance.
"Every day, we hear from the private sector that companies are eagerly looking forward to helping develop California's high-speed train system. This request for expressions of interest is the chance for companies large and small — from the self-employed business person in the Central Valley to multinational corporations — to tell us exactly what roles they hope to play in making high-speed rail travel a reality in California," said Roelof van Ark, CEO of the Authority. "With Proposition 1A, Californians did their part with state funding, and the federal government has stepped up with a pledge for a long-term commitment to high-speed rail. We are now eager to hear from the private sector."
Companies have until March 16, 2011, to respond. The RFEI applies to either the initial construction segment — about 120 miles through California's Central Valley — as well as any future phase of the project, including its financing, core systems (trains, electrification, signaling, etc.), operations and maintenance.
The RFEI is not a required, binding part of the procurement process, but it is an opportunity for the private sector to formally weigh in on the largest infrastructure project in the nation by outlining their interest in the project. It also gives the Authority a tool to shape the procurement process going forward, according to officials.
This request for expressions of interest will be followed by the legally required steps in that process: a request for qualifications in spring 2011 and a request for proposals in late 2011.