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The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) board of directors in the US have sanctioned contracts with two private sector teams for the pre-development work on the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project.

These preliminary development agreement (PDA) contracts have been approved under a first-of-its-kind public-private model.

Through a high-speed transit line, the project will link the San Fernando Valley with the Westside and later extend to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

The contracts have been awarded to Bechtel and LA SkyRail Express.

Bechtel secured a $69.9m contract to continue the work on the proposed heavy rail transit solution concept.

Around 60% of the proposed rail concept will be underground while the remaining line will run in an aerial section.

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The cost of constructing this proposed concept has been estimated at nearly $10.8bn.

LA SkyRail Express secured a $63.6bn deal for further developing its suggested monorail concept that will run between the Valley and Westside in an aerial alignment.

The proposed baseline cost for constructing this monorail concept is around $6.1bn.

Following the approval of the contracts, Metro is preparing to commence the environmental review process later this year.

Under this process, the concept designs and other alternatives will be developed and/or refined through technical examination, analysis, and public feedback.

Metro stated that it will extend the partnership with one of the private sector teams if its transit concept is in line with the project’s locally preferred alternative (LPA) selected by the Metro Board.

After the selection of the LPA, one of the private sector teams may be asked to submit a proposal for constructing and possibly financing the project.

Metro CEO Phillip A Washington said: “With the board’s action today, we have reached a significant milestone in our efforts to envision, design, and develop the United States’ first pre-development agreement specifically for a public transit initiative. As we work diligently to create a world-class transportation system here in the Los Angeles region, we will also be creating a new market for infrastructure innovation that can potentially help us build the most challenging project Metro will ever tackle.”

The Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project will obtain $9.5bn in funding from Measure M, the transportation sales tax approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2016, along with the other local, state and federal sources.