‘Best’ bidder for California rail project named

A proposal to design and build a 60-mile HSR project would cost California $985m.

A state agency tasked with bringing high-speed rail (HSR) to California has named a ‘best value proposer’ for a billion dollar project to be located in the ‘Central Valley’ of the ‘Golden State’.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) deemed a private consortium counting engineering firm Parsons, contractor Tutor Perini, and Zachry Construction, ‘the best scoring team’ competing for a contract to design and build a HSR network in the region.

The consortium put forward a $985 million bid and earned a ‘total proposal score’ of 90.55, the Authority said, calling the ‘apparent best value selection’ based 70 percent on price and 30 percent on a ‘technical’ score.

“Understanding of the project, schedule capability, project approach and safety were part of the technical scoring,” read a statement from the Authority announcing its selection.

The CHSRA did admit Parsons, Tutor Perini and Zachry also submitted the “lowest price proposal”. The project had been estimated to cost between $1.2 billion and $1.8 billion.

“[We] are moving forward to deliver a world class programme,” said Jeff Morales, chief executive of the Authority.

The CHSRA will “continue to work through the ongoing procurement process” with Parsons, Tutor Perini and Zachry to reach a final agreement, the Authority said.

The Authority was established via the California High-Speed Rail Act to develop and implement the 800-mile California High-Speed Rail project.

The Central Valley section of the project is a public-private partnership (PPP or P3) and would beget a 60-mile HSR line from Merced to Fresno.

In 2011, the Authority published a request for qualification (RFQ) for the Central Valley project. By 2013, five consortia, including the Parsons, Tutor Perini and Zachry team, had been shortlisted for the P3, including:

– California Backbone Builders (CBB), a joint venture (JV) between Acciona and Ferrovial;

– California High-Speed Rail Partners (CHSRP), a consortium comprised of engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance project management outfit Fluor, Skanska and PCL Constructors Canada;

– Grupo ACS business unit Dragados, Flatiron Construction, and Shimmick Construction;

– California High-Speed Ventures (CHSV), with COMSA EMTE USA, Kiewit Infrastructure West Company and Granite Construction Company.

The Authority, after awarding Parsons, Tutor Perini and Zachry the highest score, ranked the Dragados consortium second, with a total proposal score of 89.68 for its $1.1 billion offer. Next, CHSRA ranked CBB, with a total proposal score of 78.20 for its $1.3 billion offer, third.

CHSRP finished fourth, scoring 75.29 with a $1.2 billion offer, and CHSV came in fifth on the shortlist after scoring 66.27 with a $1.5 billion offer.

As best value proposer, Parsons, Tutor Perini and Zachry registered the lowest ‘technical’ score, 20.55, CBB scored the highest, with 27.71.