Arlington and Fairfax County Choose Streetcar Program Management Team

(CORRECTED 05-30-2014 at 3;04 p.m. to say Potomac Yard)

  • Arlington, Fairfax Counties endorse contract
  • Parsons Transportation Group brings management, engineering and financial expertise to program
  • Initial tasks include providing objective analysis of ways to cut costs
  • Funded entirely with state and dedicated commercial real estate revenues

ARLINGTON, Va. – Arlington and Fairfax Counties announced today that they have selected Parsons Transportation Group to help manage Arlington’s streetcar program, which includes the Columbia Pike streetcar segment that the two counties are jointly building.

In the coming days, Arlington will sign a contract with Parsons to help manage both the Columbia Pike and Crystal City-Potomac Yard segments of Arlington’s planned 7.4-mile streetcar system. The program management team will provide critical, specialized expertise as the Counties enter the Preliminary Engineering phase of the project and moves toward selecting a design and engineering firm by the fall.

“This is a major step forward for the streetcar project,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “Parsons has a wealth of experience in delivering transportation projects — including rail projects, around the world. In the coming months, one of their primary tasks for our program will be to provide an objective review of the project and assess options for cost reduction, including exploring potential public-private partnerships.”

Initial work includes $7 million to $8 million of services, and will be funded by state reimbursements and commercial real estate tax revenues that can only be spent for new transportation projects. There will be no homeowner-funded General Obligation bonds used to fund the contract. It is a deliverables-based contract subject to ongoing review. The contractor is paid only for actual time spent on approved work tasks. Fairfax and Arlington’s current cost-sharing agreement for the Columbia Pike portion of the program will be updated to reflect this new contract.

“Fairfax County supports the Columbia Pike Street Car project and appreciates this partnership with Arlington to enhance transit in the Baileys and Skyline area of Fairfax,” said Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. “This area was once meant to be served by the Metro system and the streetcar will deliver on this vision of transit-oriented development. The Columbia Pike Streetcar is an enormous revitalization and economic development opportunity for this area of the County.”

Parsons brings broad management, engineering and financial expertise to program

Parsons, selected through a competitive negotiation process, brings a broad range of program management, engineering and financial expertise to the streetcar program, the County’s most ambitious transportation project since Metro. Parsons and its sub-contractors have worked on streetcar and light rail projects in Houston, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; St. Louis, Missouri; Atlanta, Georgia; Dallas, Texas and Norfolk, Virginia.

“This high-capacity modern streetcar program for the Columbia Pike and Crystal City corridors, is critical for sustaining growth and building communities in both Arlington and Fairfax Counties. Parsons is honored to be selected, and our experienced project management team stands ready,” said Todd Wager, President of Parsons Transportation Group, Inc.

About the process

Arlington began its selection process for the Program Management consultant at the end of September 2013, when it issued a request for proposals. Multiple proposals were evaluated on the proposed approach to the project, level of experience, qualifications and other factors identified in the RFP. Fairfax participated in the selection panel and in negotiating the first year work program. The range of $7 million to $8 million for the initial work effort reflects that the contract includes a specific work plan with several optional tasks that will be authorized as needed. The County will negotiate a work plan each year to reflect the work that is needed during the upcoming year.

Endorsed by Streetcar Policy Committee

The Columbia Pike Streetcar Policy Committee endorsed moving forward with the contract at its meeting on Thursday, May 29. The Committee was established in 2004 during the Pike Transit Local Alternatives Analysis to provide inter-jurisdictional and interagency policy guidance for the Columbia Pike streetcar. The group includes representatives from Fairfax and Arlington Counties; Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation; Virginia Department of Transportation, Commonwealth Transportation Board, State Sen. Adam P. Ebbin, and State Del. Alfonso Lopez.

About Parsons

Parsons is an engineering, construction, technical, and management services firm with revenues of $3 billion in 2013. It works with federal regional and local government agencies as well as private industrial customers across the globe.

Streetcar Facts

Arlington is planning a modern streetcar system in two key areas — Columbia Pike and Crystal City-Potomac Yard – because it will support:

Economic development: Transportation investments, including streetcar, are essential for our long-term growth and sustainability.

Capacity for growth: Streetcar provides the capacity to serve our future mobility needs and avoid gridlock as we continue to grow. During the next 30 years, 65 percent of Arlington’s population growth and 44 percent of employment growth will be in he Columbia Pike and Route 1 corridors.

Fiscal responsibility: The streetcar funding plan relies on dedicated transportation funds and includes zero homeowner dollars through General Obligation bonds.

Preserving affordable housing: Streetcar will encourage the transit-oriented development we want, while allowing us to preserve Columbia Pike’s diversity and affordability.

To read recent studies on the expected return on investment of the Columbia Pike streetcar, and of transit ridership expected in the two corridors, visit the County website.

Arlington Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the “10 miles square” parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world — including the Pentagon — Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.