Plans for Orange County, Calif.’s first modern streetcar will soon become reality, as the Orange County Transportation Authority board of directors awarded a contract for the construction of the OC Streetcar to Walsh Construction Co.
Walsh Construction, with a bid of $220.5 million, was selected among four construction firms that met pre-qualification requirements and submitted bids. The procurement was handled in accordance with the board’s previously approved procedures for public works projects, which conform to federal and state requirements.
The OC Streetcar will run on a 4.1-mile route between commuter rail at the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center and Harbor Boulevard in Garden Grove, connecting with several of the county’s busiest bus routes along the way.
The total OC Streetcar project is estimated to cost $407 million, with funding from a mix of federal and state sources, and from Measure M, Orange County’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements, also known as OC Go.
OCTA has been working closely throughout planning and design with the Federal Transit Administration, which is considering a full funding grant agreement that, along with other federal funding, would pay for about half of the project’s cost.
Because OCTA met all federal guidelines during the development of the project, FTA officials gave OCTA pre-award authority to move forward with the purchase of vehicles and the construction contract.
In March, the OCTA board approved a $51.5 million contract with Siemens Industries to provide the vehicles for the OC Streetcar system, which will have six vehicles in operation and two spare cars that can be rotated into the system as needed.
The OC Streetcar will operate from the busy Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center, along Santa Ana Boulevard and Fourth Street and along the Pacific Electric right-of-way to Harbor Boulevard. The route will serve Santa Ana’s thriving downtown and dense employment areas that include county and local government offices and courthouses in the Civic Center. The OC Streetcar route will also connect with many of OCTA’s busiest bus routes and Metrolink and Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner. It is expected to carry more than 7,300 passengers per day within its first year of operation.
Construction on the OC Streetcar is set to begin later this year with testing and operations beginning in 2021.