Silver Line Phase 2 Bidding Begins

At least five groups have surfaced so far with plans to bid on Metro’s project to extend rail to Dulles and Ashburn.

CORRECTION: Five groups have already begun assembling teams to propose bids, not four as initially reported. All five teams are listed at the bottom of the story.

Initial story: Hundreds of people representing contractors and subcontractors hoping to be part of the winning bid to construct the second phase of the Metro’s Silver Line to Dulles Airport and Ashburn attended a conference Thursday to learn more about the process and meet construction teams planning to bid on the project.

At least five groups have already begun assembling teams to bid on the $1.4 billiion to $1.5 billion “Package A” of the construction project, which includes everything except the rail yard and the five parking garages that may never go to bid. If all goes as planned, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the entity in charge of the project, hope to have select up to five bidders by Oct. 15 to move forward.

MWAA anticipates selecting the winning bid by May 2013 and estimated construction will take five years the time the winning contractor is given permission to proceed.

The information submitted by the bidders will not be available for public review, according to Eric Carey, a contracts manager with MWAA.

“We consider that to be confidential,” he said. “We do not share that.”

He also urged anyone with questions about the process to contact him directly or submit questions through MWAA’s website. The winning bidder will have to obtain insurance for their work and place bonds on the project until MWAA approves the work.

Quite simply, once qualified bidders are selected, Carey said MWAA would be looking for the best deal.

“We’re looking for the lowest price … the lowest responsive, responsible price,” he said.

The work on Package A includes 11.4 miles of track and six stations, including the rail and supporting infrastructure, aerial structures through the airport and to the rail yard, and all rail systems, including power, train control and communications.

At some point in the future Package B, which includes the rail yard and maintenance facility, will go to bid.

It’s uncertain whether Package C, including five parking garages will ever go to bid. That’s because a cost-cutting agreement between those paying for the project—MWAA and Loudoun and Fairfax counties—put the responsibility for those decks on Loudoun and Fairfax with the hope of finding developers to build them, most likely in exchange for beneficial rezonings.

While Fairfax plans to cover the cost of the Route 28 as part of the cost-cutting agreement, the station remains part of the bid, according to representatives for MWAA, because it must comply with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Metro standards and requirements. Whereas developers are permitted to construct parking garages customized to their development, the stations themselves must meet certain standards that MWAA will oversee.

Fairfax must still try to find a way to pay for the project, likely through proffers from redevelopment proposals. If it does not, like the five garages, the costs go back into the project and are shared by the MWAA, Fairfax and Loudoun.

It was not clear when the bidding process would begin for Package B, the rail yard, while the garages in Package C may never go to bid if localities are successful in having developers fund them. If Package C goes to bid, it will likely not occur 12 months or so.

“It’s way off in the future,” said Pat Nowakowski, the project engineer. “At least a year, I’d say.”

As planned, construction should begin just trains are rolling on phase one in 2013.

Here are the names of four groups planning bid, and their partners:

Bechtel Transit Partners

The Walsh Group

  • The Walsh Group
  • Walsh Construction
  • Archer Western

Capital Rail Contractors

  • Clark Construction Group
  • Parsons Transportation Group
  • Kiewit Infrastructure Group
  • Dewberry

Silver Line Constructors

Dulles Metrorail Connectors


Learn more about the project at the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project website or on Patch.

Loudoun Opt Out July 27, 2012 at 02:17 PM
The feeding frenzy has begun! The massive construction companies and developers are the only ones this project benefits, and they are ready to eat some taxpayer and toll-payer pork! What do the rest of us get out of this deal? Tolls going up Jan. 1, 2013, traffic getting worse due to toll avoidance, increased high-density development, and rail construction, and our already-excessive taxes going through the roof to pay for it. Check out the video and pdf attached to this article for more info. There's a great LTE here: http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/article/20120727/OPINION/707279840/1065/dulles-rail-triggers-more-not-less-traffic-congestion&template=fairfaxTimes
the-stix July 27, 2012 at 02:45 PM
All the old arguments no matter how valid were insufficient to stop the train, so to speak. Phase 2 is underway, and repeating over and over, the same-old grousing will not change Metro service to Loudoun starting in about six years.
CC Mojo July 27, 2012 at 02:47 PM
We get better jobs, better commute, better living... and the tax issue was addressed. Why you continue to beat this dead horse that was passed by the BOS is beyond me. I love how fast everything is developing, no time to waste, bring on Metro!
BCan July 27, 2012 at 04:49 PM
The traffic can't really get that much worse, its already horrid as it is. Route 7 through Fairfax County in the mornings is wickedly bad. I think people are going to pay the toll, or even better: use the Metro. Remember that the Greenway in Loudoun is much more expensive then the Dulles Toll Road (even after the toll increases). I think it is interesting how people underestimate the usage of the Metro in Loudoun. I think the Silver Line is going to be so widely used that there are going to be capacity problems as the trains approach DC. And btw, what is your problem with high-density development? I really wouldn't mind a "Reston Town Center"-like vibe to Loudoun. These new high rise developments are a chance to give Loudoun an identity to and distinguish it among the sprawl of homes.
Bob Bruhns July 27, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Too bad we don't get a better price. We face a huge struggle because the cost is almost two times what it should be. Why is the MWAA Board allowed to influence the selection of contractors in this job? This is the same Board that arranged a near double payout for this project as it routinely practiced misconduct, and I sure don't recall ANY of its members speaking out about that misconduct at the time, either. But now that it is time for them to decide which companies should get nearly double payments for this work, this Board speaks out frequently about how it does not want to seat new members, and about how it does not want dubious members removed. The MWAA Board should be disqualified after what we saw in the US DOT Inspector General's May 15, 2012 report, and there will be more to come on that subject as the months go on. I say we should get the prices down to earth - these prices will make a big difference in how bad things are going to be in Northern Virginia because of this rail project. Unfortunately, things will still be pretty bad even if these prices could be reduced to zero, because Phase I already got us, as we shall now see. But realistic pricing of Phase II would make a difference for us nonetheless, and it would make a big difference across the country in the future, as similar ripoff projects would not be able to point to the ridiculous overcosts of Dulles Rail Phase II when pushing their own even further jacked up prices somewhere else.
Bob Bruhns July 27, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Just saying "Oh, take the train" isn't the answer. I'm not sure that there has ever been a study of how much of the traffic on the Dulles Toll Road goes to places that are at all well served by the Silver line, but I'd bet that a large percentage of drivers would not do well getting to work on the Silver Line - and some, probably many, also need their cars to go on from their jobs to various customer sites, etc. One might say "Oh, well then take a bus from a train station" - but wasn't one of the pro-rail arguments that you couldn't get around well on buses? You can't have it both ways - either bus works, or it doesn't. Also, it will not take much Silver Line traffic to choke the Rosslyn Tunnel. The Rosslyn Tunnel was already at capacity at rush hour, so the new routing schedule begun on June 18, 2012 had to be arranged to allow the Silver Line to use it at rush hour at all. In fact, since you brought it up - how do you propose that we pay for a Rosslyn Tunnel expansion? Please keep in mind that the Metro system is many billions of dollars behind in its maintenance, too - so money will be in great demand.
BCan July 27, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Bob, the Silver Line makes perfect sense for the purpose of serving Dulles Airport and the 2 largest employment areas in Virginia: Herndon/Reston and Tysons Corner. I never said that buses wouldn't work, and in fact we already have the Fairfax Connector 950 that goes to West Falls Church, which is what I currently use to get to the Metro. Buses do work, but the ultimate goal of the Silver Line is to get Metro extended to Dulles Airport and to promote commercial growth in the Dulles Corridor. Commercial growth is something that has not happened with the current bus lines.
Bob Bruhns July 27, 2012 at 10:34 PM
BCan, our leaders have already admitted that it is mostly airport workers who will be using the Silver Line to Dulles Airport. This was admitted by former Fairfax County Supervisor Stuart Mendelsohn, Virginia Secretary of Transportation William Connaughton and Fairfax County BOS Chair Sharon Bulova, when they argued that it was perfectly OK that the Airport rail station would be 1/4 mile from the air terminal. Again, you can't have it both ways.
Bob Bruhns July 28, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Stix, I am sure that there will be plenty of grousing in a few years, when Fairfax County and Loudoun County discover what they bought and will be paying for for 50 years or more. But just because you want to pretend that the Silver Line was a good deal for Northern Virginia, is no reason not to discuss the facts.
CC Mojo July 28, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Yes, while the terminating station at the Dulles airport was for workers and airport traffic. That is why extending Metro into Loudoun was so important. There was no "admission" or conspiracy. To say otherwise is nothing more than trying to spin things once again. Nice try, though.
BCan July 28, 2012 at 05:00 AM
CC, I completely agree. The Dulles Airport Station would have been of no use to Loudoun County commuters whatsoever despite the fact that it is within County borders.
BCan July 28, 2012 at 05:48 AM
Bob, The Airport station will have a fair amount of traffic regardless of what you may think... National Airport in Arlington consistently has had between 6,000 and 7,000 average weekday boarding for the past 5 years. I expect Dulles to have about the same or more. And I honestly don't believe that any officials said that it was only going to be airport employees using the station... show me the proof that that was said. I swear Bob, you make this stuff up. On a personal note, you are free to say and think whatever you will about the Silver Line but please remember, this is a project that will provide transportation service to a very highly traveled corridor, and unlike buses will promote economic growth as a bonus. The comparatively small problems that you point out are far outnumbered by the holistic benefits that this region will enjoy from having the Silver Line.
the-stix July 28, 2012 at 09:52 AM
I’m impressed with the experience of the competitive teams and companies that have responded so far to the MWAA RFQI for the estimated $1.4-1.5 Phase 2 Package A (links in the corrected Patch article above). Contractor selection is planned for May next year. The total approximately $3 billion Phase 2 project will also include Package B (Rail Yard at Dulles), Package C (Parking Garages) and a WMATA purchase of new Series 7000 rail cars (originally 64 but may have changed) btw, those that have any familiarity at all with the competitive biding process, should look at the very comprehensive RFQI document that the MWAA has issued. http://www.mwaa.com/file/8-13-C001_RFQI.pdf
Tax Pig July 28, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Mojo you are in La La land, we'll call this the let's be like Greece Plan. You love raving about all the perks "better jobs, better commute, better living" that wasting OPM (other people's money) promises, but it eventually the OPM runs out.
Rob Whitfield July 28, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Dusty: Thanks for listing Phase 2 prospective bidding teams. While I remain deeply opposed to the funding plan which relies on Dulles Toll Road tolls for 75% (less the $150 million Virginia commitment to buy down toll increases for 2 years), the MWAA Phase 1 project management team has seemingly demonstrated their ability to complete the more complex design phase through Tysons in a timely and mostly within the inflated cost budget. Although the final Phase 1 captial cost estimate is now $2.9 billion, we need assurance that WMATA will not play games with their start up cost claims. We need to know why WMATA is charging the project over $3 million per unit for 64 Phase 1 rail cars when total Series 7000 unit contract price is only about $2.2 million each. What is estimated Phase 2 rail car cost? Please post projected overall project management costs for Phase 1 and 2. Which private companies have provided PM assistance to MWAA in Phase 1? I note that Parsons Transportation has provided "Program/Construction Management for MWAA since 1988." Nothing against Parsons, but as I recall, they also provide ongoing PM work at Dulles Airport. The public needs to know who was responsible for the project management problems on building the AeroTrain people mover to midfield terminals As to Package A, the main final design/construction contract, does Fairfax County have to complete and gain PPP funding plan public approval for the Route 28 station and garage before May 2013?
Bob Bruhns July 28, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Take a look, BCan. Pro-rail former Fairfax County Supervisor Stuart Mendelsohn: "Rail is really there to get the employees there. Six-hundred feet really isn't going to stop the employees from using it." ... "Often, fewer travelers use the rail to get to the airport than airport employees." - Dulles Corridor Predicted to See Success with Rail Herndon Patch, September 17, 2010 http://herndon.patch.com/articles/dulles-corridor-predicted-to-see-success-with-rail Pro-rail Fairfax County BOS chair Sharon Bulova: “The percentage of people actually coming to the airport station to get on a plane will be a relatively small percentage." ... "Most who use the station will be employees and the garage location is more convenient for them." - Sharon Bulova Pushes for Alternative Location for Dulles Airport Metro Station Herndon Patch, April 19, 2011 http://herndon.patch.com/articles/sharon-bulova-pushes-for-alternative-location-for-dulles-airport-metro-station Pro-rail Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton: "The vast majority of those who will wind up using the Dulles Metro station will be airport employees." ... "...just a few travellers." - Airports Authority Chooses More Costly and 'User-Friendly' Option for Dulles Metro Station WMAL, April 20, 2011 http://wmal.com/Article.asp?id=2154797 BCan - you just can't make this stuff up! Dulles Rail is a ripoff. But with a Billion and a half dollars of overcharge in it, many things are possible.
Bob Bruhns July 28, 2012 at 04:37 PM
CC, I'll agree that there was no admission of conspiracy.
The Analyst July 28, 2012 at 06:26 PM
CC Mojo Wrote: "We get better jobs, better commute, better living " This comment epitomizes absolutely everything that's wrong with this country. A collection of special interests, primarily developers and commercial realtors presents a collection of unassociated prospects, ties them all together, presents them to the public, and the public believes them - not because there's a basis in fact, but rather because it's nice to believe it's true. Rail has ->nothing<- to do with jobs. Companies are not going to spend millions of dollars relocating an office within the county to be near a rail station. Out of state companies will not relocate here at a cost of perhaps 10's of millions of dollars just because there's rail. We heard similar arguments in the dot-com boom. "If we build it they will come, because N.Va. is the self declared head of the dot-oom industry." They built it - no one came, except some companies that were so poorly managed (stupid) the all went bankrupt. Many of the buildings are **still** empty. I'm afraid we need some new leaders, and leaders that represent the people, not special interests. If you look into the backgrounds of board of supervisors members, I think you will come to realize that some, if not most of them, have no business or even qualifications making decisions of such scope. Special interests must surely find these people an easy target. If the jobs don't happen or worse yet they start leaving, don't say I didn't warn you.
Tax Pig July 28, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Ken Reid says, "If you have rail, all you do is raise taxes..." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUcvrPPMO1Y
joe brewer July 29, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Will we be able to see the winning bid? I would think that the powers that be would want to hold that contract up as a shinning beacon of their stewardship. Or will we get more heavy handed bs from Potter and the group saying it's none of our business.
the-stix July 29, 2012 at 08:15 PM
The 2007 Intergovernmental Agreement valued at $287 million defines MWATA participation in Phase 1. For that they were to provide technical advisory services during the construction, technical assistance to transition and acceptance of Phase 1 into revenue service, capital equipment procurement (including 64 vehicles (plus spare parts, support equipment, tools and non-revenue vehicles), a communications backbone, operations computer upgrades, and fare collection equipment. As to the vehicle cost alone, one would have to see the manufacturer contract as to what it contains such as deliverable items, schedules, options and terms/conditions. It would be great (but not likely) if someone, like Patch, comes across this and links it. Certainly more transparency would help us all as we move into Phase 2!
the-stix July 29, 2012 at 08:17 PM
A final contract document (in this case probably 100’s of pages) to my knowledge is seldom if ever released to the public by government agencies. MWAA may make the RFP public as they did the RFQI, and they will undoubtedly publish the negotiated final price. I like you, am just an interested bystander, so what I have said is only my opinion.
Bob Bruhns July 30, 2012 at 05:41 AM
In Phase I, MWAA made it very difficult to get a real sense of the overcharges. MWAA acted like price information was a secret, and they redacted it (with big black lines, specifically so that we could not see the prices). And the breakdown of the construction prices was for things like tons of cement poured, etc, not the cost of this or that building, etc. Here are the MWAA Phase I reports, with those redactions in them. Take a look - you'll see a whole lot of big black lines covering up line item prices in there. General page: Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project Design-Build Contract for Phase I http://www.mwaa.com/dulles/2552.htm Design-Build Contract (7.87 MB PDF) http://www.mwaa.com/file/p1dcmexhibits_7_25_08.pdf Contract Exhibits (10.31 MB PDF) http://www.mwaa.com/file/p1dcmexhibits_7_25_08.pdf -------- General page: Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project Phase I Supporting Documents submitted to FTA http://www.mwaa.com/dulles/2554.htm Table of Contents (PDF; 1 page, 44KB) http://www.mwaa.com/file/fta_contents_2_1_08.pdf Tabs 1A and 1B (PDF; 83 pages, 4.64MB) http://www.mwaa.com/file/fta_tab1a1b_2_1_08.pdf Tab 1C (PDF; 87 pages, 5.99MB) http://www.mwaa.com/file/fta_tab1c_2_1_08.pdf Tab 2 (PDF; 72 pages, 2.41MB) http://www.mwaa.com/file/fta_tab2_2_1_08.pdf Tab 3 (PDF; 276 pages, 19.1MB) http://www.mwaa.com/file/fta_tab3_2_1_08.pdf Tab 4 (PDF; 80 pages, 1.11MB) http://www.mwaa.com/file/fta_tab4_2_1_08.pdf
Bob Bruhns July 30, 2012 at 05:42 AM
Of course, with an Inspector General in a new Inspector General position at MWAA, and with two audits being conducted by the Inspector General of US DOT, things might be a little bit different this time. But if some legal trick makes the Phase II contract line item prices some sort of State Secret, like the Phase I contract line item prices were, chances are pretty good that the Billion and a half dollars of excessive cost that I have mentioned, will burden this region for generations.
Rob Whitfield July 31, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Bob, MWAA's stated reason for confidentiality on Phase 1 is that Dulles Transit Partners used the Virginia Public Private Transportation Act provisions with Bechtel and Washington Group (now part of URS) as design/build contractor. Given that the two companies were orignally competitors to build a bus rapid transit project, the lack of transparency is an obvious ongoing concern. Bechtel has much to gain to overcome its negative reputation from its role in the Boston Big Dig problems. I give credit to MWAA's engineers, contractors, workers and field managers for an excellent Phase 1 safety record and on time schedule so far. The $150 million cost overrun projected versus the FFGA 2009 budget is partly due to design changes ordered by NTSB after Red Line crash. As today's Washington Examiner article shows, MWAA continues to operate under a veil of secrecy dictated by its Board to cover up "sweetheart" deals. http://washingtonexaminer.com/board-overseeing-dulles-rail-takes-care-of-its-own/article/2503535. I have long suggested that the Dulles Rail project would benefit from having a public oversight board. The self serving politicians on the Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee have failed the public by failing to ask tough and timely questions. Far worse managerial, safety problems and potential misconduct may await us at WMATA, Silver Line operators. It is time for Congress to order audits at WMATA of their ongoing Metrorail safety and maintenance problems.
Bob Bruhns July 31, 2012 at 01:50 PM
People should read this article: Airports board takes care of its own http://washingtonexaminer.com/board-overseeing-dulles-rail-takes-care-of-its-own/article/2503535 Thanks for the link to that article, Rob. I suppose MWAA wants to make sure that former Board members can afford the skyrocketing tolls that are coming because they jacked up the price of the Silver Line so much. Too bad about the rest of us. Some things were done well in Dulles Rail Phase I - in particular, the very tricky tunnel in Tysons Corner. But the Phase I price was excessive, and Phase II is even worse. And as you say, WMATA now looms as an even worse problem. MWAA had even complained about the remarkable WMATA markup on the rail cars. And yes, the WMATA problem detecting the presence of trains on the tracks is an ongoing problem that resulted in a deadly crash and more recently resulted in a huge Metro shutdown. It's not a new problem. Also we know there are colossal WMATA maintenance and capital-needs exenses ahead, that our so-called 'leaders' didn't happen to mention while they pretended to consider the Silver Line rail project. People need to wake up.
Bob Bruhns October 20, 2012 at 07:46 PM
One other point: line item costs in Dulles Rail Phase I were hidden because of a Public-Private Partnership. But the cost of Phase I is nearly two times what it should be. I thought a Public-Private Partnership was supposed to REDUCE costs - but apparently this is not the case.
Bob Bruhns December 31, 2012 at 10:47 AM
I just happened to notice that I made a mistake. The Dulles Rail Phase 1 Design-Build contract is actually here: Design-Build Contract (7.87 MB PDF) http://www.mwaa.com/file/p1dcmcontract_7_25_08.pdf


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