- The Dallas Area Rapid Transit board this week approved $872 million for the $1.1 billion, 26-mile east-west Cotton Belt light-rail line and awarded two major contracts for the project contingent on a $908 million U.S. DOT loan. According to The Dallas Morning News, DART received assurances that the federal money would be available before the end of the month.
- DART awarded an $815 million, fixed-price design-build contract with performance incentives to Archer Western Herzog 4.0, a joint venture between Archer Western and Herzog Contracting Corp., for the rail’s construction. AWH beat out the JV of Salini Impregilo and its U.S. subsidiary The Lane Construction Corp., as well as a team that included Kiewit Infrastructure South Co., Austin Bridge & Road LP and Parsons Transportation Group. The two runners-up will get about $4 million each as reimbursement for work they put into their proposals and for the right to use their ideas in the rail’s design and construction.
- The agency also awarded a $49 million contract for project manager/owner’s representative services to the joint venture of WSP Global and Arredondo, Zepeda & Brunz LLC (AZ&B). The WSP-AZ&B team will perform design review and construction management services, which include coordination; oversight of AWH; and cost, quality and schedule control. Other firms competing for that contract included AECOM Technical Services and HNTB. Construction is expected to be complete in December 2022.
In Dallas and other metros, light-rail systems have been driving residential and commercial development near stations along their routes. After completing two rail lines in 2014 and 2016, DART reported that there had been $7 billion of development within a quarter of a mile of light-rail stations. In Phoenix, transportation officials have seen a similar story play out, with more than $11 billion of transit-driven construction reportedly springing up around its light-rail stations since Valley Metro started operating the line in 2008.
That $11 billion represents 50 million square feet of new construction across almost 350 projects that have transformed blighted areas of Phoenix into spaces people want to live, work and spend leisure time. The line has also connected residents to employment and educational opportunities.
More than 25,000 new residential units along the rail have been added to the city’s stock, including apartments and condominiums in downtown Phoenix, which used to be a ghost town after working hours. In nearby Mesa, Arizona, more than $400 million of new construction projects have been built or are in the pipeline, and many are crediting the light-rail that connects it to Phoenix as the driving force behind that development.