As the California high-speed rail program transitions from planning to delivery, the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s Board of Directors has approved a Rail Delivery Partner (RDP) contract that takes a new and expanded approach to America’s first high-speed rail-program. This new partnership – led by Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), Inc., - recognizes a shift in the program from planning to construction and draws on a seasoned team of international experts with experience delivering high-speed rail systems from around the world. Ground was broken in January 2015 for the system which aims by 2029 to run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in under three hours at speeds capable of over 200 miles per hour. The system will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, totalling 800 miles with up to 24 stations.
"We are pleased to have received competitive proposals from two of the global leaders in program management," said Authority CEO Jeff Morales. "Today's action reflects a new area of emphasis for us as we move forward with construction and focus towards planning and implementation of operations."
In one of the biggest stories in international rail news this week the RDP contract will run through 2022 and has an estimated total value of up to $700 million. The RDP team combines significant resources and expertise in high-speed rail. Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc. is a global consulting firm assisting public and private clients to plan, develop, design, construct, operate and maintain critical infrastructure. Additionally, UK Companies Network Rail Consulting and LeighFisher will both provide major contributions as members of the Parsons Brinckerhoff team. Network Rail Consulting is the international consulting arm of Network Rail, the authority responsible for the United Kingdom’s railway network. LeighFisher is a global management consulting firm with over 65 years of expertise in infrastructure, advisory and consulting services, including public-private partnerships.
The Rail Delivery Partner is a successor of the current Program Management Team. On January 29, 2015 the Authority issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the RDP contract. On March 23, 2015, teams headed by Bechtel Infrastructure Corporation (Bechtel) and Parsons Brinckerhoff submitted Statements of Qualifications. They were evaluated on their ability to address engineering and construction challenges, such as seismic tunneling, high-speed systems, operations, testing, commissioning and support of alternative delivery models, including public-private partnerships. Following in-depth interviews, evaluators determined the PB team was the top ranked offer.
Twenty of the 40 firms committed in PB’s contract bid are small businesses that will help the company meet the Authority’s aggressive Small Business Program, which includes a 30 percent participation goal for small businesses competing for contracts with the Authority. The small business program also includes a 10 percent participation goal for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises and a 3 percent participation goal for Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises.