MegaProject 1076: AECOM and John Laing bid to upgrade second busiest bus corridor in LA
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AECOM and John Laing have submitted an unsolicited proposal to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) to upgrade the Vermont Avenue Transit Corridor under a public-private partnership. The consortium propose to implement a bus rapid transit (BRT) system with advanced mobility technologies.
The proposal is currently being assessed by LA Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation (OEI), who are examining the project's financial and technical merit. The review team will decide either to proceed directly to a competitive tender, subject the proposal to a more detailed financial and technical review, or decline further review.
The Vermont Avenue Transit Corridor is the second busiest bus corridor in Los Angeles, after Wilshire Boulevard, with more than 40,000 boardings a day on weekdays. Additionally, there also are around 150,775 people who live in the project’s study area, which includes half a mile on either side of Vermont Avenue. The corridor extends roughly 12.5 miles from Hollywood Boulevard south to 120th Street.
The project is one of 45 that comprise LA Metro's Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan (LACTIP) or “Measure M”, which was approved by LA County residents in a referendum in November 2017. The plan aims to enhance the county’s regional transportation system by investing in capital improvements in the bus, rail and road systems. Additionally, LA Metro will invest in transit and paratransit operations, highway and transit system maintenance, local street improvements, bicycle and pedestrian connections, and affordable fares.
This ambitious plan will be funded through a 0.5¢ (US$0.005) sales tax and the existing 0.5¢ traffic relief tax. LA Metro estimate that it will generate US$860 million a year and create 465,690 new jobs across the region. The proposed projects will be built over a 40-year period.
Following the Measure M spending plan, the Vermont Transit Corridor upgrades are scheduled to break ground in 2024 and be fully completed between 2028 and 2030. LA Metro have estimated that the total cost of the project will be US$425 million. US$25 million will be obtained from Measure M funds and the remainder from other, presumably private, sources.
The project is expected to relieve crowding on current services, improve on-time performance, improve transit travel speeds, and raise connectivity to other Metro services, including the Green Line, Expo Line and the Red and Purple Line subway.
LA Metro have stipulated that the bus system could be converted to a rail service at a later date if ridership demand outgrows the bus rapid service capacity.