A series of public-private partnerships to be formed by Metro will deliver Measure M transportation projects faster and more efficiently, the agency said Thursday.

The partnerships will be created through a recently enacted competitive bid process for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor, the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor and an extension of the ExpressLanes network. All will be funded by Measure M, which was approved by voters last year and is expected to raise $120 billion for transportation projects over the next four decades.

“The voters of Los Angeles County have given us a mandate to build new public transportation projects as quickly as possible. Now it’s our turn to deliver on that promise,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is also chair of the Metro board. “By creating innovative partnerships with the private sector, we can accelerate Measure M projects, and ease traffic across our region even more quickly than we expected.”

Metro officials said that after evaluating several unsolicited proposals, the transit agency is now ready to issue requests for proposals that give all firms the chance to bid on the projects.

Reaching the RFP stage typically takes years, but Metro said it can now be reached much quicker as the result of a streamlined unsolicited proposal policy that was started in 2016 by Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation.

“Among the benefits of these unsolicited proposals is that each carries the potential for significant cost savings if the projects can be built sooner, because construction costs rise over time,” Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington said. “They also may generate unanticipated revenue to potentially accelerate other Measure M projects — and this could greatly help other parts of our region.”

Metro said it received an unsolicited bid for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor from Parsons Transportation Group Inc. and Cintra, and plans to issue an RFP for the transit portion of the project as a project development agreement where the contractor comes on board early in the process to “influence efficiencies and cost savings.”

Two proposals for the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor from Skanska and Kiewit will result in an RFP for a P3 utilizing elements from both proposals, according to Metro, and a proposal for Metro’s ExpressLanes network that was submitted by Goldman Sachs has the agency looking to pursue a procurement for bond underwriting to fund the project.

“Since we announced our new unsolicited proposal policy last year, we have been gratified by the overwhelming response,” said Metro Chief Innovation Officer Joshua Schank. “We are seeing innovation at its best and we look forward to delivering projects and programs — supported by P3s — to improve the quality of life in our region sooner rather than later.”

–City News Service

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