Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Santa Ana selects firm for streetcar planning

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Orange County, Calif., has generated its share of controversy in recent years involving passenger rail, particularly light rail, but Santa Ana has awarded Cordoba Corp. a contract worth up to $6 million for a two-year study of streetcar options for the city. The initial plan calls for a line linking downtown Santa Ana with downtown Garden Grove,  a distance of approximately nine miles.

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But the choice of Cordoba Corp. has generated its own controversy, since the company reported received the lowest ranking by the city’s evaluation committee among three bids submitted. Parsons Brinckerhoff reportedly wrote a letter protesting the decision, saying it “raises serious doubt as to the integrity of the process.” David Evans and Associates, Inc., was the third bidder.

Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido says Cordoba will be the lead contractor of a “hybrid” team the city plans to assemble. The evaluation committee assembled by the city included the city managers from both Santa Ana and Garden Grove, as well as a planner, an engineer, a public-works administrator, and a deputy executive from the Orange County Transportation Authority. OCTA plans to fund most of the planning effort.