Authorization illustrates federal confidence in project, ahead of approval of federal funding
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today underscored its continued confidence in the Southwest LRT Project, by approving the project’s entry into engineering. This milestone means the federal government has authorized project staff to finalize designs in preparation for the start of construction in 2017.
“We continue full steam ahead on the Southwest LRT project,” said Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck. “The continued confidence and support from the FTA underscores this project’s strength as an efficient and effective way to connect people with jobs and expand opportunities in our region. We are on track to apply in February for the Full Funding Grant Agreement and fully expect to receive that federal commitment in July. I’m proud this project continues to maintain support not just at the federal level, but from our local community and business leaders as well.”
The FTA cleared the project’s environmental review earlier this year, paving the way for SWLRT to begin in January preparing bid documents for heavy construction.
The Full Funding Grant Agreement would commit the FTA to pay half the capital costs of the project, or $928.8 million. When the 14.5-mile line opens in 2021 as the METRO Green Line Extension, it will provide access to about 200,000 jobs.
Next steps include invitation for bids
The project office plans to issue invitation for bids for the heavy construction contract in early 2017, for the systems contract (electrical power, signaling and communications systems) in the spring, and for the operations and maintenance facility contract mid-year. The Met Council could begin awarding contracts in June, with private utility relocations happening in the spring ahead of heavy construction. For details about the contracts, see page 5 of the September project newsletter, Extending Tracks (7 pages, pdf).
More than 200 contractors, Disadvantaged Business Enterprises attend contractor open house
Staff presented design details Dec. 5 at a construction contractor open house at the Minnetonka Community Center to 230 contractors interested in bidding on the project. The open house included an information session and networking opportunity for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) and prime construction bidders. Contractors interested in bidding on the project staffed 12 tables at the open house.
“Contractors are hungry for the chance to work on the Southwest LRT line. The Southwest LRT Project will create an estimated 7,500 construction jobs, totaling $350 million in take-home pay for Minnesota workers, who will come from all over the state,” project director Jim Alexander said.