The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will seek Board approval on pre-development work for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project.
A fixed-guideway transit service initially connecting the San Fernando Valley to West Los Angeles, the project would ultimately extend south to Los Angeles International Airport.
In March, Metro will recommend the award of separate Pre-Development Agreements (PDA) to LA SkyRail Express for its monorail proposal ($63.6 million) and Sepulveda Transit Corridor Partners—Bechtel for its heavy rail proposal ($69.8 million).
The Sepulveda project is slated to receive $9.5 billion from the 2016 voter-approved Measure M transportation sales tax as well as local, state and federal sources, Metro said.
The agency said it has “long sought to pursue” the PDA partnership model, which enables early contractor involvement. “Metro aims to bring the expertise and creativity of the private sector to the table early, when critical design and engineering decisions can have the greatest impact on the project’s ultimate success,” the agency explained.
Metro “retains the ability to move forward with one of the private sector teams, if any, if its transit concept is ultimately chosen as the project’s locally preferred alternative [LPA],” Metro said. One of the teams may have the opportunity, after the Metro Board selects the LPA and once project development is complete, “to submit a proposal to build the line, potentially accelerating construction and improving project performance.” A public-private partnership (P3) for project delivery is likely, according to Metro.
After the PDA contracts are awarded, Metro said it would assess both proposals as part of an environmental review process starting this fall. A scoping period will be first, followed by work on and completion of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), public hearings, and the Board’s selection of an LPA.
Under the PDA approach, each selected contractor team will provide technical work to support the project development process, which will take place at the same time as the environmental review and approval process, Metro said. According to the agency: “The development of the project will incorporate technical analysis and public feedback into design decisions, with multiple ‘off-ramps,’ where Metro can choose to shift to a different delivery approach. If the partnership is successful in defining a feasible project that is selected by the Metro Board as the LPA, Metro may engage with the PDA team to agree to an approach to build the project.” All of this work is slated for completion by 2025.
Metro originally issued an RFP for pre-development work in October 2019 and received proposals from four teams, “representing strong private sector interest in the project,” the agency reported.
Project delivery for the Valley to West Los Angeles segment is expected by 2033-35, and for the Westside to LAX segment by 2057-59. However, under Metro’s 28 by 2028 initiative, the Valley-Westside segment “is identified for potential acceleration in time for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles (LA 2028),” according to the agency. It also reported: “The section of Interstate 405 (“I-405”) between these high-demand areas remains one of the most congested urban freeway corridors in the United States. Prior to the current pandemic (COVID-19), more than 400,000 people moved through this area every weekday. Much of this crowding is a result of the geography of the area and the limited number of roads and public transport options running north-south through the Santa Monica Mountains.”