Los Angeles — The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is moving toward a series of public-private partnerships (P3s) that will deliver Measure M transportation projects to L.A. County residents even faster, and more efficiently than expected.

The partnerships, which will be created through a competitive bid process, would help accelerate three major Measure M projects: the Sepulveda Transit Corridor, the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor and extension of the ExpressLanes network.

This follows an extensive evaluation process by Metro staff on separate unsolicited proposals submitted to the agency.

“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, 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.”

The next step is to issue requests for proposals (RFPs) that give all firms the chance to offer proposals on how these projects could be accelerated.

Reaching the RFP stage quickly – something that often takes years – is the result of a new streamlined unsolicited proposal policy that was launched in 2016 by Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation. The goal of the policy is to make it easier for private entities to submit ideas to Metro for building and, in some cases, operating projects. Unsolicited proposals for all three of the projects were submitted within the past year. While the contents of the proposals are confidential, all of the approaches utilize P3 concepts.

“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,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “They also may generate unanticipated revenue to potentially accelerate other Measure M projects – and this could greatly help other parts of our region.”

After a detailed evaluation of proposals for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor from Parsons Transportation Group, Inc. and Cintra (Cintra US Services LLC, an affiliate of Cintra Global Ltd.), Metro plans to develop an RFP for the transit portion of the project. The project will be pursued as a Project Development Agreement where the contractor comes on board early in the planning and design process to influence efficiencies and cost savings.

Two proposals for the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor from Skanska (Skanska USA Civil West) and Kiewit (Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.) will result in an RFP for a P3 utilizing elements from both proposals. A proposal for providing a regional approach to develop Metro’s ExpressLanes network was submitted by Goldman Sachs. Metro plans to pursue a procurement for bond underwriting to fund the implementation of the regional ExpressLanes network.

“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.”

Metro will now begin developing the procurement process for each of the three projects. Moving forward, Metro anticipates additional opportunities to accelerate other Measure M projects through partnerships with the private sector.