Kiewit/Parsons Awarded Design-Build Contract for Metro Gold Line Extension

Yesterday, the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority awarded a $486 million design-build contract to a Kiewit/Parsons joint venture. The contract is for the 11.5 mile extension of the Metro Gold Line light rail from the Sierra Madre Villa station in the City of Pasadena to Citrus Avenue near the boundary of the City of Azusa and the City of Glendora.  The Authority previously awarded a separate design-build contract to Skanska for the Iconic Freeway Structure within the same alignment.

The Authority made the award decision for the Foothill Extension project using a best value selection methodology, considering both price and technical factors. For this project, the most highly rated proposal had both the lowest price and the highest technical rating. Although not always the case, this result is not uncommon for best value procurements, since the proposer with the highest technical rating is likely to have a better understanding of the project and therefore able to figure out ways to reduce costs and manage risks without adversely impacting quality.

The procurement process started in early in January 2010 with a request for interested teams to submit statements of qualifications. The Authority shortlisted three teams and went through a pre-RFP industry review process, issuing the request for proposals in August 2010.  The Authority received initial proposals in January 2011, entered into discussions with the proposers and obtained final proposals from all three teams in June 2011.

Instead of basing its best value determination on a pre-set formula, the Authority used a "qualitative price/technical tradeoff" methodology--an approach that is generally recommended by procurement experts. Federal agencies have moved toward the tradeoff methodology in part due to concerns that use of point scoring and formulas increases the risk of protests, and also based on a belief that it is appropriate for the selection official to have responsibility for making the selection decision. The selection official is required to analyze the differences between the competing proposals and to make a rational selection decision based on the facts and circumstances of the specific acquisition, consistent with the evaluation factors and subfactors stated in the solicitation documents. A number of state and local transportation agencies have used a tradeoff approach for their design-build contracts, including the Maryland State Highway Administration with respect to its Intercounty Connector contracts, although many state and local agencies remain more comfortable using formulas.

The authors assisted the Authority in this procurement as well as the contracts for the initial "Arroyo Seco" operating segment.

  • Brian G. Papernik

    With more than 20 years of experience, Brian Papernik guides clients through innovative infrastructure project delivery and financing approaches for the country’s largest infrastructure improvements. His background ...

  • Nancy C. Smith

    Co-founder of Nossaman’s Infrastructure Group, Nancy Smith is nationally known for her expertise in use of design-build, public-private partnerships (P3s) and other innovative contracting methodologies for public ...

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