Plans for Orange County, Calif.’s first modern streetcar took another major step forward this month when the Orange County Transportation Authority board of directors approved the release of an invitation for bids to build the OC Streetcar.
The invitation for bids from contractors marks a significant milestone for the project as it begins the process to select a qualified contractor to build the 4.1-mile streetcar that will run through the heart of Orange County, in Santa Ana and Garden Grove.
A pre-qualification process is already underway to ensure a strong pool of potential contractors with specialized skills required to build a streetcar system. Bids are due in March 2018, and the OCTA board is expected to award the construction contract in April.
“Thoughtful policy, careful planning, and open collaboration are guiding the OC Streetcar project toward construction and we’re excited to reach this next milestone,” said OCTA CEO Darrell Johnson. “We are looking forward to a private-sector partnership that will help bring the vision for Orange County’s first modern streetcar to reality.”
The project is estimated to cost $299 million, with funding coming from Measure M, Orange County’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements and a mix of state and federal funding.
The largest funding source is expected to come from federal dollars – $50 million was included in the President’s 2017 budget, and OCTA has been working closely throughout planning and design with the Federal Transit Administration, which is considering a Full Funding Grant Agreement to pay for about half of the project’s cost.
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 commuter rail. It is expected to carry more than 7,000 passengers per day within its first year of operation.
Construction on the OC Streetcar is set to begin in fall 2018 with operations beginning in late 2020.