The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking early assistance from the private sector to jointly develop plans for the massive Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project.
Metro’s RFP seeks a pre-development agreement (PDA) with up to two private sector proposers to assist in the planning and design of this megaproject — a fixed guideway transit line connecting the San Fernando Valley to the Westside, and ultimately Los Angeles International Airport. Once project development is complete, the private project developer would have an opportunity to submit a proposal to build the line, potentially accelerating construction and improving project performance.
The transit line would provide a new travel option in the perpetually congested 405 freeway corridor through the Sepulveda Pass, giving motorists a high-speed, high-capacity transit alternative to driving for the first time. The effort would mark the first time a PDA approach was used to deliver a transit project in North America. PDAs have been used to deliver complex mega-projects in other parts of the world.
A PDA would enable early contractor involvement in the project, allowing for innovations in design, construction approach, and operations. A private project developer would participate in defining and designing the project concept together with Metro with input from community stakeholders. Private project developer teams that are awarded a PDA would provide design and engineering to support development of the project, constructability reviews, and cost estimates. The information would also be included in the project’s official environmental review process, which is expected to begin in 2020.
PDA contractors would likely develop various project concepts involving a range of possible transit modes, some of which may involve new approaches and innovations for Metro staff, the Metro Board of Directors, and the public to consider. After selection and final engineering of the preferred project alternative by the Metro Board, Metro would have the opportunity to invite the successful developer team to submit an offer to deliver the project at an agreed price and schedule, likely through a public-private partnership. Metro would also always retain the option to pursue a different project development and delivery path at no additional obligation.
Metro is now finalizing a feasibility study evaluating potential transit alternatives for the project. The study will conclude by the end of 2019. By the summer of 2020, Metro anticipates selecting up to two contractors as PDA partners and identifying the alternatives to be studied in the environmental review. Those alternatives may be chosen from Metro’s feasibility study and/or the selected PDA partner(s). The PDA process and environmental review process will occur simultaneously without any impacts to required milestones for either.
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. The first phase of the transit line between the Valley and the Westside is scheduled to open in 2033.