- A California authority has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a design-build team that can construct a $1.5 billion, 12.3-mile extension of six stations along the Foothill Gold Line light rail, according to Engineering News-Record.
- Companies interested in bidding on the project must submit the qualifications of their key employees, a staffing plan, proof of financial and legal fitness and a list of possible subcontractors, as well as evidence that they have completed similar projects.
- Requests are due in January, and the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority expects the selection process to take one year. Major construction of the Southern California rail extension is slated to start in 2020 and is expected to wrap up in 2026.
The authority's RFQ comes at a time when public transportation across the U.S. is on a downslide.
In its second-quarter 2017 transit ridership report, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) found that overall ridership in the country declined 2.64% from the second quarter of 2016, with the number of light-rail users declining 0.76% in the same period. Government Technology reported the trend likely stems from low fuel prices and low unemployment, in addition to the convenience of ride-share services like Uber and Lyft.
Nevertheless, many Americans seem to favor the preservation mass transportation. Voters gave the green light to almost 90% of transit-related ballot initiatives this year, according to APTA.
The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority, along with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), is benefiting from the success of last year's Measure M ballot initiative, which levies a regional half-cent sales tax in Los Angeles County. That money is expected to generate approximately $860 million a year for transit projects over the next few decades.
Capitalizing on those funds, Metro recently announced several projects that would be using the new Measure M funds. Included on that list are an 11.5-mile, $1.4 billion extension to the Gold Line light-rail system in the San Gabriel Valley; projects in the Sepulveda Transit Corridor, the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor and an expansion of the ExpressLanes system; and an $891 million extension to the South Bay Metro Light Rail.