- Team brings extensive streetcar engineering design expertise
- County Board also approves updated cost-sharing agreement with Fairfax
- State and regional partners endorse contract
- Arlington's share funded entirely with state and local dedicated transportation revenues
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Arlington County Board today approved the award of a $26 million, multiphase contract to HDR Engineering, Inc. to begin engineering and design on the 7.4-mile Arlington-Fairfax streetcar system. The contractor will develop preliminary design plans for the Columbia Pike and Crystal City-Potomac Yard streetcar segments and technical specifications for the streetcar vehicles.
“The start of preliminary engineering is a major milestone, and keeps us on track to start streetcar service in 2020,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “As we move this project from concept to reality, we've assembled a team with proven expertise developing streetcar projects across the country and the skills to help us deliver this program cost-effectively.”
Expected to take 18 months, preliminary engineering will include developing 30 percent design plans for the roadway, track alignment, power, signals, stations and facilities; vehicle specifications; and updated construction cost estimates. Optional tasks cover items such as conditions discovered during engineering and additional surveys or traffic analysis. Subsequent phases of the contract, if awarded, may include final design or assistance transitioning the engineering work to an alternative project delivery contractor, such as a design-builder.
The Board voted 3 to 2 to award the streetcar engineering contract.
The contract amount, including base scope, options and contingency, is 5.4 percent of the streetcar program's construction cost estimate – in line with the 3-7 percent industry standard and the 2012 Federal Transit Administration recommendation of 6 percent for the Columbia Pike segment. Arlington's contract costs are funded by a combination of state grants, commercial real estate tax revenues that can only be spent on new transportation projects, and a fund dedicated to infrastructure investment in Crystal City.
To read the staff reports on this item, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item #59 on the Agenda for the Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014 Recessed County Board Meeting.
About the process
Arlington began its selection process for engineering and design services in February 2014, when it issued a request for proposals (RFP). Multiple proposals were evaluated on their qualifications, level of experience and other factors identified in the RFP. Fairfax County participated in the selection panel.
HDR Engineering, Inc. is an architectural and engineering firm that works with federal, regional and local government agencies as well as private industrial customers around the world. The multi-disciplinary team led by HDR has extensive experience with designing and building streetcar and light rail projects, including streetcars in Salt Lake City, Kansas City and Washington D.C.
In June, Arlington signed a contract with Parsons Transportation Group to help manage the streetcar program, including overseeing the engineering design contractor. Parsons is currently analyzing ways to deliver the streetcar program sooner.
Arlington-Fairfax project agreement
The Arlington County Board also approved, by a vote of 3 to 2 ,an update to the cost-sharing agreement with Fairfax County. The amendment provides for payments by Fairfax for its share of program management and engineering services costs for the Columbia Pike streetcar, which the two counties are building together.
Arlington will continue to pay 80.4 percent and Fairfax will pay 19.6 percent for costs related to the Columbia Pike streetcar. The percentage is based on the length of the streetcar segment in each jurisdiction, as well as ridership expected for each. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the updated agreement at its Oct. 7 meeting.
Endorsed by Streetcar Policy Committee
The Columbia Pike Streetcar Policy Committee endorsed moving forward with the engineering contract at its meeting on Sept. 22. 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.
Arlington's streetcar system
Arlington's planned streetcar system includes two segments – Columbia Pike and Crystal City-Potomac Yard – that meet in Pentagon City. High-capacity streetcars will operate along with buses to serve the growth in population and jobs expected along these corridors. The streetcar also will help create a more walkable “Main Street” on Columbia Pike and encourage more people to use transit – while attracting new jobs and generating new tax revenues for Arlington and Fairfax Counties.