Los Angeles-area light-rail extension reshuffles resources due to higher costs
- The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority announced Monday that it will speed up construction of the first eight-mile leg of the $1.5 billion, 12.3-mile extension of the Foothill Gold Line light-rail system by two years and delay the final 4.3-mile section in the wake of higher-than-expected bids for the project. The authority's proposed plan would also increase the budget for the project by $570 million to a total of $2.1 billion.
- The authority said the proposals from all four short-listed design-build teams — AECOM/Stacy and Witbeck, Herzog Rados Lane, Kiewit-Parsons and San Gabriel Valley Transit Partners (a Fluor and Ames joint venture) — reflected current market conditions and came in "hundreds of millions of dollars more" than the authority projected two years ago. However, by fast-tracking the first segment of the line, with targeted completion in 2024, the authority could deliver three stations, 65% of grade stations, 72% of the structures, 80% of the freight system relocation and save tens of millions each year in "market escalation cost and risk money" in the bidders' proposals.
- The authority said the board of directors will consider the new plan and its related requirements at its November meeting and will also request revised proposals from the two most competitive teams — AECOM/Stacy and Witbeck, and Kiewit-Parsons. The agency will then pursue funding for the remainder of the project, which could be completed as early as 2028. Possible sources of money include financing, subregional funds, the LA Metro and the state of California.
The one-half cent Los Angeles County sales tax known as "Measure M," which is expected to raise approximately $860 million a year for transit projects, is also helping to pay for the Foothill line. During the next 40 years, light rail and bus service is in line for almost $30 billion during the next 40 years. Other programs like street improvements ($22.5 billion), bike and pedestrian service ($2.4 billion) and regional rail ($1.9 billion) will also benefit.
One California tax measure that is sure to pay off for many contractors is the state's gas-tax increase, passed as a way to help fund a $52 billion infrastructure initiative. The regulation was up for repeal last week via Proposition 6, but California voters rejected it at the ballot box. The state's construction industry raised approximately $40 million in support of the successful effort to keep the tax, while proponents of the repeal raised about one-tenth of that amount.
- Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority Foothill Gold Line from Glendora to Montclair Project Procurement Update Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions
Follow Kim Slowey on Twitter