Boston's Green Line bids confirm $1.3B design-build budget
- Two of the three teams bidding on the $1.3 billion design-build phase of Boston's $2.2 billion Green Line rail extension project have said they can complete their scope of work within the allotted budget, according to the Boston Herald.
- Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) officials did not reveal whether it was GLX Constructors, Green Line Partners or Walsh Barletta Granite that could not guarantee delivery of the Green Line extension within the budget constraints.
- The Green Line project today represents a scaled-down version of the original proposal. The entire undertaking was nearly scuttled at the end of 2015 after schedule delays and cost overruns of nearly $1 billion. The MBTA is set to announce the winning team Dec. 11.
There was plenty of finger-pointing to go around after the MBTA terminated the original Green Line project team of White-Skanska-Kiewit. The MBTA alleged that it was the guaranteed maximum price contract delivery method that sent the project hurtling toward massive budget excesses, but a subsequent independent post-mortem found that mismanagement by the MBTA was also a factor in the project's missteps.
In order to regain favor with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and to hold onto the $1 billion grant promised by the agency, the MBTA redesigned the Green Line, shaving $700 million from the previously inflated budget. The MBTA also brought on a new manager, John Dalton, who previously managed the Chicago Transit Authority.
While Boston's Green Line project appears to be getting back on track, in Minneapolis, recent news has not been as good. Last month, the agency overseeing the $1.9 billion, 14.5-mile Southwest LRT light rail extension announced that all the bids it received for the project were too high and would likely be rejected.
The Metropolitan Council's decision will now likely delay the contract award to the first quarter of next year, with construction to begin later in 2018. This delay means the Council will likely also delay its FTA grant application to Q2 2018.
The Minneapolis project has been plagued by its own set of troubles. The state legislature has tried to kill the project on at least two occasions, with state lawmakers first refusing to fund the Southwest LRT, leading the Council and other local agencies to come up with the necessary funding themselves.
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