LOS ANGELES —” AECOM, as part of a joint venture, has been awarded a $21.5-million contract from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The joint venture will provide planning and engineering services for the Regional Connector Transit Corridor, a two-mile transit link between the Metro Gold line, Metro Blue line, and Expo light rail transit (LRT) systems throughout downtown Los Angeles. When completed, the three-station, 1.6-mile tunnel alignment will create a 50-mile north-south LRT line from Pasadena to Long Beach and a 16-mile east-west LRT line from East Los Angeles to Culver City.

"The Regional Connector will enable all the region’s transit systems to operate more efficiently and attract higher ridership, thus reducing congestion, improving air quality, and bringing the benefits of modern mass transit to more communities," said Jim de la Loza, senior vice president and West region planning manager with AECOM.

The project will reduce one-way light rail trips by 10 to 20 minutes, eliminate crowding at existing stations, and provide access to downtown and regional destinations for more than 90,000 passengers daily. Starting at the Seventh/Metro Center station in downtown Los Angeles, the proposed alignment extends north along Flower Street before proceeding east at Second Street with a new underground station providing access to Bunker Hill and Disney Hall. Tracks continue east underneath Second Street, turning northeast to a new Little Tokyo/Arts district underground station and then into a new underground rail junction.

The joint venture will provide Advanced Conceptual Engineering (ACE) during Phase 1 and Preliminary Engineering for Phase 2, including preparation of technical documents to support the draft and final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Environmental Impact Report (EIR). This base contract consists of the work required for Phases 1 and 2. Future options in the contract include design services during construction (Phase 3) and Rail Activation Support (Phase 4).

"This project will benefit the future Westside extensions by increasing ridership and improving connections on Metro’s existing lines," de la Loza said.