Los Angeles transportation officials signed off today on a nearly $1 billion contract to build a downtown subway for linking rail lines.
The Metro board awarded a $927.2 million design and construction contract for the project to Regional Connector Constructors, a joint venture of Skanska USA Civil West California District Inc. and Traylor Bros. Inc.
Metro hopes to begin construction in 2017 on the 1.9 mile subway dubbed the regional connector.
The line, expected to be completed by 2020, would enable passengers to switch to local Metro lines or regional Metrolink trains bound for far-flung suburbs from Azusa to Long Beach, Metro officials said.
The awarding of the contract today comes on the heels of the Federal Transit Administration committing $670 million in February. Some of the project's funding will come from the Measure R half-cent sales tax hike approved by voters in 2008.
The project is part of a flurry of rail construction underway, including the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the second phase of the Expo Line, and the Gold Line Foothill Extension. Work on an extension of the Purple Line is also expected get underway in the next few years, with funding for the project likely to be secured by this summer, Metro officials said.
In addition to the rail projects, Metro is expecting its first batch of a fleet of 550 new buses and has earmarked $1.2 billion to replace light rail cars on the Blue Line.
The Metro board today also awarded a $31 million contract for preliminary work on a project aimed at increasing commuter service at Union Station.
The four-year contract with HDR Engineering, Inc. will cover environmental and engineering work on the $350 million Southern California Regional Interconnector Project.
Metrolink and Amtrak trains now have access to Union Station on five sets of tracks on the north side of the complex, and at least four set of track would be extended to enable commuter service on the south side of the vintage- 1939 station.
With the improvements, Metro officials estimate Metrolink and Amtrak's 15-minute turnaround time for trains at Union Station could be reduced to 2 minutes.
The project, starting in 2016 and scheduled for completion in 2019, also would prepare Union Station for taking on more passengers as work on the state's high-speed rail line progresses. About $4 million will come from Metrolink, $16.2 million in federal grants and $328 million in state and other funds, Metro officials said.
--City News Service