Fiona Ma for State Assembly
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Assemblywoman Ma leads California High Speed Rail forum at April Program

AAAE President Kendall Young welcomed over 100 attendees at the organization’s April 2010 event. He cited that one of the AAAE goals is to be an advocate for increasing A/E business opportunities for the small businesses, including minority and woman-owned, in the Bay Area. The Program Chair, Winifred Au, introduced Assemblywoman Fiona Ma and representatives of the prime consulting firms providing Program Management and Regional Design for the California High Speed Rail Project (HSR). Among the speakers were Assemblywoman Ma, Speaker pro Tempore, the California HSR Authority’s (CAHSRA) Deputy Director Dan Leavitt, Jim Bourgart and Dominic Spaethling of PB (Program Management), Brent Ogden of AECOM (Regional Design), Robert Sergeant of Parsons (Regional Design), and Peter Gertler of HNTB (Regional Design).

The speakers described the project as 800 miles long with 26 stations and 150 miles of bridges, viaducts and elevated structures. The project is divided into 2 phases, the first being San Francisco to Los Angeles with a later Phase 2 for the Sacramento to Merced, Los Angeles to San Diego and the proposed Altamont Corridor.

Leavitt stated that Phase 1 has an overall construction cost of $42.6 billion to be financed from state, federal, local and private (P3) investment funds, with federal funds being the largest contributor. The recent $2.25 billion federal stimulus grant sets September 2012 as the deadline to obligate the funds and begin construction.

Leavitt also stated that the CHSRA recognizes California’s diverse mixture of cultures and interests and notes that the proposers need to be sensitive towards reaching and including these populations when developing their teams. The CHSRA will follow state and federal contracting SBE/DVBE and DBE guidelines for design and construction contracts.

Leavitt identified the Principal Consultants currently under contract for the preliminary design as:

    * Program Management                                                                 Parsons Brinckerhoff
    * PM Oversight (PMO)                                                                     T.Y. Lin, International
    * Environmental & Engineering Segments  for Phase 1
          o San Francisco – San Jose                                               HNTB Corporation
          o San Jose – Merced                                                          Parsons Transportation Group
          o Merced – Fresno                                                             AECOM Transportation
          o Fresno – Bakersfield                                                       URS/Hatch Mott MacDonald/Arup
          o Bakersfield – Palmdale                                                  URS/Hatch Mott MacDonald/Arup
          o Palmdale – Los Angeles                                                 Hatch Mott MacDonald
          o Los Angeles – Anaheim                                                  STV Inc
    * Environmental & Engineering Segments  for Phase 2
          o Los Angeles – San Diego                                                HNTB Corporation
          o Sacramento – Merced                                                   AECOM Transportation
          o Altamont Corridor Rail Project                                    AECOM Transportation

Leavitt indicated that a design-build concept will be used by the CAHSRA to deliver the projects, and that only the Program Management team will be precluded from competing for the design-build contracts.

Each of the regional design teams will be seeking local teaming partners to subcontract A/E design.

Robert Sergeant of Parsons Transportation Group discussed the benefits of the prime teaming with small businesses, e.g. local experience, local relationships and specialized expertise, especially during the permitting process.

In closing, President Young thanked Assemblywoman Ma for arranging the forum and all of the participating panelists.  He shared his thoughts that the most successful  example in our history of fair and equitable distribution of public contracts occurred at the expansion of the San Francisco International Airport.  The selection of A/E primes for the over $1.5 billion expansion program was open and transparent.  Subcontracting requirements were extensive and allowed many of our members to participate.   He expressed his hope that a similar process can occur with the High Speed Rail project.