CEO Report – August 2020

Brian P. KellyLos Angeles Union Station Update

Funding Plan: At the April 2020 Board of Directors meeting, the Board approved the Funding Plan for Phase A of the Los Angeles Union Station Project – referred to as “Link US.” The Funding Plan directs $423.3 million in Proposition 1A bond funds to the project, which has a total Phase A budget of $950.4 million.

  • Pursuant to the requirements of Proposition 1A, and subsequent to the April Board action, the Authority forwarded the Funding Plan and Independent Consultant Report to the California High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group, the Legislature, and the State Director of Finance.
  • In June, both the Peer Review Group and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee sent letters concurring that the Funding Plan met the statutory requirements to release Proposition 1A bond funds.
  • In a letter dated July 6, 2020, the California Director of Finance, Keely Martin Bosler, formally approved the Funding Plan as likely to be successfully implemented and authorized the Authority to enter into commitments to expend bond funds.
  • The Authority is now working with LA Metro to develop a Project Management Funding Agreement (PMFA), which we will bring to the Board for approval.

Change in Procurement Status: On July 10, LA Metro notified industry that it will cancel its current Request for Qualifications (RFQ) and re-issue the RFQ with a revised Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) integrated delivery approach for the project. Specifically, Metro is changing from a “not to exceed price” to a more traditional approach similar to the one that the Authority used in delivering the State Route 99 Realignment Project in the Central Valley.

  • Authority staff have discussed this change with LA Metro staff, who have indicated this change is warranted given COVID-19, financial, and other considerations.
  • The Project Budget is expected to stay the same, and the Authority’s funding contribution remains capped at the $423.3 million in Proposition 1A funds and $18.7 million in planning funds.

Palmdale to Burbank Preferred Alternative Adjustment

In November 2018, the Board of Directors identified a Preferred Alternative for the 41-mile segment of the Phase 1 system between the Palmdale Transit Center and the Burbank Airport Station in Southern California. For environmental review and planning purposes, we refer to this project section as “Palmdale-to-Burbank.” The Preferred Alternative included a direct impact on Una Lake, a body of water near Palmdale.

As we have advanced the environmental work on this section we have consulted with two federal regulatory agencies, specifically the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). Both agencies have communicated to us that in order to environmentally clear this project section, direct impacts to Una Lake must be avoided. Environmental clearance requires a determination that the section represents the Least Environmentally Damaging Preferred Alternative (LEDPA). After consultation with the USACE and USEPA, under the authority delegated to the CEO by the Board, I approved an amendment to the Preferred Alternative adopted in 2018 to achieve the objective of avoiding impacts to Una Lake.

Leading up to this amendment, we had extensive outreach and consultation with a range of communities and stakeholders who regard the modification to the alignment as generally a positive one that balances benefits and impacts. There is a 2% increase in the capital cost associated with this change.

Staff is continuing to advance the environmental work and the Draft Environmental Impact/Statement (EIR/EIS) will be issued for public comment in 2021.

A link to the PowerPoint presentation associated with this topic can be found here: PowerPoint: Palmdale to Burbank Amendment to the Preferred Alternative.

Construction/Program Updates

I am pleased to provide two updates on program advancements.

Agreement with Madera County: Staff recently completed an agreement with Madera County related to the fulfillment of the Authority’s commitment to remediating construction impacts to local roads and the County immediately opening several roads where work has recently been completed work (at Avenues 7, 10 and 15) and accepting ownership and maintenance obligations for all completed structures at Avenues 7, 8, 10,11 and 15. Avenues 8 and 11 are currently open to the public. The opening of these roads allows additional work to progress on our project.

The agreement also includes a commitment from the County to expeditiously issue needed permits to continue our work going forward. I want to thank Supervisor Frazier and Board Chairman, Supervisor David Rogers, for working with us to finalize this agreement.

Collaborating with “Fresno Works” to Secure Maintenance of Way Site: As we build out the full Phase 1 system connecting San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim, we anticipate requiring three separate Maintenance of Way Facilities to support the system. In the Fresno-Bakersfield Final EIR/EIS approved by the Board of Directors in 2012, the Authority identified and environmentally cleared the first of these sites just south of downtown Fresno. The site will also contain the Operational Control Center (OCC), a temporary trainset acceptance testing and certification facility and will include training classrooms and support equipment, such as simulators.

Our Central Valley staff is working closely with Board Member Perea and a group of business and local government representatives in Fresno known as “Fresno Works” to secure the site for these activities and to preserve a local investment of $25 million to accelerate infrastructure improvements to the site and help ready it for future job-generating activities. These facilities are proposed to be constructed by the Track and Systems contractor that we are currently in the process of procuring. As part of this procurement process, the Authority is required to instruct the bidders where these facilities will be located.

We look forward to continuing a close collaboration with “Fresno Works” so we can prepare the site for these facilities and the long-term jobs that come with them.

Look-Ahead Issues

The Board of Director’s September meeting will have a full agenda of both action and informational items, including:

  • Action: Central Valley “Wye” Final Supplemental EIR/EIS
  • Update: Environmental Schedules for all remaining Phase 1 project sections (San Francisco – Los Angeles/Anaheim)
  • Presentation: Intrusion Protection Barrier (IPB) Safety Requirements for the Central Valley Construction Packages (CP 1, CP 2-3 and CP 4)
  • Discussion: Procurement Process/Options for the Rail Delivery Partner (RDP) Contract

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