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Five to Bid for Silver Line Phase 2 Contracts

MWAA chooses design and construction finalists for rail from Reston Town Center to Loudoun County.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced Wednesday it has selected five teams to bid on designing and building Metro's Silver Line Phase 2.

Phase 2 includes stations at Herndon, Innovation Center, Washington Dulles International Airport, Route 606, and Route 772. 

The five are listed below in alphabetical order, along with their equity members:

  • Bechtel Transit Partners 

Bechtel Infrastructure Corporation

  • Capital Rail Constructors 

Clark Construction Group, LLC

Kiewit Infrastructure South Co.

  • Dulles APC Railbuilders 

Archer Western Contractors, LLC

PCL Civil Constructors, Inc.

Corman Construction, Inc.

  • Dulles Metrorail Connectors

Skanska USA Civil Southeast / Granite Construction Company

G.A. & F.C. Wagman, Inc. / Trumbull Corporation

Facchina Construction Company, Inc.

  • Silver Line Constructors

Fluor Enterprises, Inc. / Tutor Perini Corporation / Stacy and Witbeck, Inc.

The teams were selected a process intended to emphasize design and construction experience and professionalism and produce a short list of up to five qualified teams to proceed to final bidding.

 “This list includes some of the most qualified and most successful engineering and construction companies in the world," Pat Nowakowski, Executive Director for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, said in a statement.

"We are proud and excited because this ensures a highly competitive process as we move forward with Phase 2 of this dynamic project. This is a project of local, regional, national and international significance and a gateway to our nation’s capital.”

Other procurement process steps will include the submission of a technical plan and pricing. The award will be made to the firm submitting an acceptable technical proposal and lowest price. An award is anticipated in May 2013. The contract estimated cost is $1.4-1.6 billion.

The completion of construction for Phase 2 is anticipated for mid-2018. The timetable was delayed because of, among other issues, a Loudoun County threatening to withdraw from participation.

Construction of the first phase of the Metrorail Project to the Wiehle-Reston East Station is 82 percent complete and projected to open at the end of 2013. The pedestrian walkway at Wiehle-Reston East will begin installation this weekend. Reston East will be the final stop on Phase 1, which will run from East Falls Church through Tysons Corner to Reston.

In other MWAA news, new directors joined the board as a result of recently enacted legislation that expands its membership from 13 to 17, with four new directors in attendance at Wednesday’s meetings:  Lynn Chapman and Caren Merrick from Virginia; Earl Adams, Jr. from Maryland; and Barbara Lang from the District of Columbia. More information is available at:http://www.mwaa.com/5452.htm.

Bob Bruhns October 18, 2012 at 03:38 PM
This presently stated estimate of $1.4-1.6 Billion is 52% to 57% of the most recent previous estimates from March 6, 2012. 1) Is this apparent huge cost reduction because the bids came in massively lower than the estimates, or are we paying somebody else $1.2 to 1.3 billion for some hidden cost? 2) If the bids are coming in at 52% to 57% of the recent estimates, will MWAA reduce their charge to Fairfax County for the Rt 28 (Innovation) station from the earlier $101 million to $53 to $57 million? That is still more than Fairfield, Connecticut paid for their more than comparable Metrorail station in December 2011, but it is a lot better than the more than double price we were being charged for our Rt 28 / Innovation station until now. 3) Also, if the bids are coming in at 52% to 57% of the recent estimates, will MWAA reduce the price estimates for the five Phase II parking garages from the present double price of $34,015 per space to a more reasonable price of about half that amount?
Dave Webster October 18, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Bob, Are the bids coming in at a price range your research indicates is correct?
Uncle Smartypants October 19, 2012 at 02:24 PM
If they are awarding in May and they just announced the down-select, the bids probably aren't due until December at the earliest or even as late as February. A Tech prop and price prop for a job this size will require many thousands of manhours. Regarding Bob's "research" and subsequent 1,749 posts saying some version of "Phase Two is costing twice as much as it should!", the lesson here is that estimates are just that: estimates. These five companies (or more accurately, Bechtel and four Joint Ventures) all want to win this job. They will probably all come in with a qualified tech prop - they're building a choo choo, not a spaceship - so lost cost will carry the day. The final cost will largely depend of the type of contract awarded and the quality of the spec. Firm Fixed Price is most advantageous to the buyer. "Time and materials" shares the risk between buyer and vendor and is most advantageous to the vendor. On projects this size, contractors tend to make most of their profit (not revenue but profit) on changes. Any variation to the spec - "Oh wait, we need to move that escalator over there!" - invariably results in huge change fees. The better the spec, the less this happens. To answer Bob's questions: 1) unlikely, 2) They'll charge Fairfax County what it costs, which they don't know yet, 3) Who cares? The ACTUAL winning bid will be known on award. Let's wait until then to complain about whatever.
Bob Bruhns October 19, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Dave - I thought the selected contractor would manage the entire $2.8 billion project cost, but the design/build turns out to be about half of that amount. Where is the other $1.4 to $1.5 Billion going? MWAA redacted most cost reports in its Phase I and Phase II reports. But we can expect to pay WMATA $192 to $256 million for the 64 rail cars in Phase II, and in Phase I, KPMG's audit lists $78 million for Contingency Reserve, $510 million for Finance Charges, and $773 milloin for Professional Services. That adds up to about $1.6 billion, so this might seem to make sense - if we don't ask questions. Hmm, questions. Why does the Dulles Rail Phase II per-mile cost (adjusted for components included) exceed the Franconia-Springfield Metro extension per-mile cost (adjusted by inflation) by about two to one? Why does the cost of our Rt 28 (Innovation) station exceed the cost of the more than comparable Fairfield, Connecticut Metro station by more than two to one? Why should the five Dulles Rail Phase II parking garages cost two times as much per space as other area parking garages, and more than two times the cost of the nearby Herndon, virginia downtown parking garage? Are all of these other projects understating their costs by about 50%? And why haven't MWAA's cost estimators been called to testify about such things? Are our so-called 'leaders' lying to us when they keep saying that they are looking for ways to lower the tolls? What should we do about that?
Bob Bruhns October 19, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Also Dave - right now I can only guess what is and what is not covered in the Design / Build portion, so I'm not sure what would be a reasonable bid for the Design-Build part of the Phase II project. I'll have to scour the MWAA RFQA and bid documents, maybe it can be deduced from the information there, if it is not hidden from public view by the usual MWAA redaction. All I know for sure is that the whole project costs nearly two times what it should. Phase II project costing is so distorted, that it is difficult to discuss it. It includes a hidden, 2.4 overpriced $101 million for the Phase II Rt 28 (Innovation) station that Fairfax County says it will fund separately from the Phase II project books. It states an estimated $34,015 per space (a double price), for parking garages that have been removed from the project books. A huge number of its stated costs are redacted in MWAA's reports to the very public that will pay for it. Those redactions are supposedly justified because there is a Public-Private Partnership in there somewhere. But the overall cost is nearly two times what it should be - isn't a Public-Private Partnership supposed to reduce costs?
Bob Bruhns October 19, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Uncle S - as for the large cost numbers in question, the KPMG Phase I Audit estimates $733 million for "Professional Services" - and that's for Phase I alone. If Phase II is at all similar, then there must be a lot of very happy professionals out there. I'd say that people need to take a good look at this massively overpriced project.
the-stix October 19, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Mr. Bruhns clearly does not understand the $1.4 - $1.6 billion is a MWAA cost bogie for the Design-Build contract ONLY, which is just one cost element of the total Phase II cost. Firm Design-Build technical and cost proposals from the five selected contractors are yet to be received.
Bob Bruhns October 19, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Dave - frankly I am surprised that so much is NOT included in the Design-Build job. I replied to your question in posts that appear below. Stix - certainly, I am no construction expert. For example, I need to find out how Dulles Rail Phase I managed to spend $773 million on Professional Services, as reported in the April 17, 2012 KPMG Phase I audit. And I have to assume that a similar amount was spent on Professional Services in Phase II. As I say, there must be a lot of happy professionals out there.
Uncle Smartypants October 19, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Uncle Bob - I'm all for Best Acquisition Practices, but I'm afraid that train has left the station. Now we have to trust the people and processes in place to ensure taxpayers get the most value for our dollars. <gulp>
Just the Facts October 19, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Since MWAA can give out 220 million of no bid contracts without getting Board approval, I'm sure they can afford to give all the contractors a few million here or there. What a joke. But the joke with be on us the toll road users. Where are our elected officials? Silent. Please elect new public officials.
Just the Facts October 19, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Bob is correct. The professionals made a ton of money on phase 1. While everyone was concerned about using a PLA , the professionals were cashing checks. Smoke and mirrors. Distract the public from the real issues. MWAA and our elected officials are working hand in hand to frame all these issues. Wake up people before you start paying $10 tolls. LaHood should be getting ready to deliver some more Tifia loans soon. All part of the plan.
Bob Bruhns October 20, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Yes, Tifia loans. Note that these are LOANS - although it will of course be called 'federal funds' to trick people into thinking that it's free money. But the truth is that it's just a big loan to help us pay too much for this rail project. And we will pay, and our children will pay, and our grandchildren will pay, for generations, for this near double priced monster. I'm quite serious in suggesting that somehow this rail monster should be paid off by some kind of a lottery. I call it 'Making Tracks'. If there is some Virginia law against this, it might be a good idea to change that law - because this rail monster is going to cause a lot of trouble, the way we plan to finance it now.
Bob Bruhns October 20, 2012 at 02:49 PM
I think it's $200 thousand, not $220 million. The recent governance of MWAA is an example of absolute power, corrupting absolutely. But the problem was set up by a former elected leader, Tim Kaine, who gave them unsupervised authority to accomplish a specific task - to get the rail line built. MWAA apparently made this suggestion, but I think it had a somewhat different governing group back then. I really don't know how or why the various appointees were selected - political paybacks for effective fundraising in some cases, who knows what in other cases. But somehow that group got very drunk with power, and who knows what might have influenced their decisions. There are dangers with getting buddy buddy with big money. We have seen problems with hand-in-glove oversight in the nuclear industry, in the banking and finance industry, and more recently in the oil drilling industry. MWAA's recent governance has demonstrated that it isn't such a good thing in the rail infrastructure industry, either.
Just the Facts October 22, 2012 at 11:33 AM
No the preliminary IG report covered stronger ethics language, stronger travel policy and 220 million of no bid contracts that violated MWAA contracting procedures. This seems to be swept under the rug. These contracts under the contacting manual says the Board needs to approve these contracts. The Board never approved the expenses in question. The report came out in May but MWAA never has mentioned the no bid contracts. For that matter, Governor McDonald nor Congressman Wolf have been jumping up and down either. We are talking about 220 million dollars while tolls are going up.
Bob Bruhns October 22, 2012 at 12:51 PM
You're right! MWAA's governance did so many things wrong, that it's hard to remember it all. See Page 9 of the US DOT Inspector General's May 15, 2012 interim report. http://www.oig.dot.gov/sites/dot/files/MWAA%20Interim%20Letter_5-15-12.pdf "MWAA Did Not Maximize Competition or Always Request Board Approval When Required" "MWAA awarded only about one-third of its contracts with full and open competition during the period of our review. [January 2009 to June 2011.]" "MWAA awarded almost two-thirds (64 percent) of its 190 contracts that exceeded $200,000 with less than full and open competition during the period of our review. [January 2009 to June 2011.] ... Of these, 117 contracts ... amounted to more than $220 million." "We also found that MWAA did not obtain required Board approval for high-value contracts as required by its Contracting Manual. These contract awards, which amount to $6 million, did not have Board approval." "4 of the 13 awards (31 percent) valued over $3 million in our statistical sample did not receive Board approval." And it's even worse than that. See: http://www.bruhns.us/civic/DullesRail/Dulles-Rail---Silver-Line-overcost-report---Bruhns.pdf

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