Metro and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) are evaluating a program to accelerate delivery of certain highway improvements within the county utilizing a PPP delivery method. Six specific improvement projects have been identified that, if delivered as one PPP project, ARTI, would include design completion, construction, financing and maintenance of most of the improvements for a period of 30-35 years. These improvements are nearly fully funded and have been environmentally cleared, but are programmed for construction funds in future years. The estimated cost of delivering this package of improvements is approximately $750 million in 2012 dollars.
ARTI includes a highway gap completion, capacity enhancement, pavement rehabilitation and soundwalls. These projects are at various locations throughout the County. One of the specific elements in the package includes the potential construction of 13.5 miles of high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes on Interstate 5 instead of the currently planned high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. If approved, this element of the package would include toll operations as part of the proposed concession.
Compensation to the concessionaire would be through availability payments over the 30-35 year period, committed from Metro’s and Caltrans’ various sources of funds and the potential toll revenue generated on the HOT lane facility.
Metro is also evaluating the potential to deliver desperately-needed capacity improvements through the Sepulveda Pass. The Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) currently identifies $1 billion in Measure R funding for transit improvements in this area in the year 2030. Fearing this will be too little too late, a PPP approach is being considered for a project that would consist of a potential high-capacity, automated rail transit line and a multi-lane, tolled highway bypass to relieve congestion on the I-405.
It is likely these facilities would be constructed in one or two large bore tunnels with a minimum length of 10 miles. Analyses of this proposal will be undertaken soon by Metro and its consultants, considering the feasibility of linking northern San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles International Airport, a distance of approximately 30 miles.
Initial analyses will look at cost and revenues to develop a feasibility assessment of the potential viability of a project, as well as an assessment of constructability and financeability. Provided staff is in a position to recommend a PPP concession be pursued, the next steps will be to further develop a concept of the project and solicit a developer partner. Because no environmental analysis of this proposal has been undertaken, consideration is being given to a pre-development agreement approach, allowing a developer to assist in project scope definition, reduce the overall schedule, and streamline environmental clearance.
Metro continues to advance several other potential PPP projects, working in parallel with on-going environmental clearance efforts for the SR-710 North Gap, the I-710 South Freight Corridor and the High Desert Multipurpose Corridor. The below Board Reports reflect all work being undertaken by the Public-Private Partnership Program.
Metro has been meeting periodically with members of the PPP Subcommittee of the Association of General Contractors, discussing various potential general contracting issues related to the Public-Private Partnership method of project delivery. For more information, see the Key Commercial Issues Comment Table (5-3-13) compiled by members of the Metro/AGC Joint PPP Committee.
The next issue to be discussed is the concept of Pre-Development Agreements (PDA). The resulting table of comments will be posted here when available.
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