SANTA MONICA—On Thursday, February 3, the board for the Expo Light Rail approved the second phase of the new transportation system spanning fromCulver City to Santa Monica. The board selectedSkanska/Rados, a joint venture involving Skanska USA Civil West (a subsidiary of Skanska USA) and Steve P. Rados Inc. The other venture that was in contention for the contract included URS/Shimmick. An initial review of Skanska discovered issues related to worker safety, pricing and a federal investigation in the companies’ hiring practices.  Skanska is one of the top construction companies in the nation.

Chief Executive Officer of the Exposition Construction Authority, Richard D. Thorpe, indicated in a letter to the Board of Directors on Thursday, February 3, the details of the selection process.

“In view of the size of the firms that perform such large and complex contracts, it is typical that they have had some violations, suits, settlements, etc., as mentioned by the Inspector General during the previous Board meeting”¦In this case the Proposers involved did provide the required information and subsequently, at our request, supplemented that information to include reports of incidents involving other associated legal entities within their overall corporate structure.  This supplemental information was found not to impair the Proposer’s ability to perform the Stage 2 work in compliance with Authority Requirements and hence the recommendation by the Pass/Fail Responsiveness and Responsibility Evaluation Committee led by outside counsel, that both Proposers had passed the Responsiveness and Responsibility test,” stated the document.  The document further indicates that URS/Shimmick received a Total Best Value Score of 81.38, while Skanska/Rados received a Total Best Value Score of 96.82.

Canyon News spoke to Gabriela Collins, Government/Community Relations Manager for the Exposition Construction Authority about the Light Rail Project.  She indicated that initial service is expected to begin later this year, with service to Venice/Robertson station in 2012 and the completed line toSanta Monica by 2015.

When asked by Canyon News if the board’s contract decision was unanimous, Collins said, “Yes, the board action last week was unanimous.  However, please note that the contract has not yet been awarded. The Expo board approved the selection of Skanska/Rados, a joint venture, as the Phase 2 design-build contractor and authorized the CEO to begin contract negotiations. We anticipate the contract will be awarded in March.”

Collins indicated that many in the community are anticipating the opening of the Expo Line and that they were instrumental in the approval of the extension of the line to Santa Monica.

“The Expo Line will provide faster, more reliable public transportation services and increases the capacity of the transportation system in Los Angeles County.  Today, travel from Santa Monica to downtown Los Angelescan take well over an hour in traffic.  On the Expo Line, this trip will take less than 50 minutes, regardless of traffic conditions on the I-10 freeway and congested east/west thoroughfares.  The Expo Line will also link residents and businesses along the corridor to the regional transportation network for easy access to other parts of the city and county,” said Collins.

The new rail will travel along the I-10 freeway corridor between Downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica and will stop at popular destinations along the way including USC, Exposition Park, the Mid-City neighborhoods, the Crenshaw District, Culver City, West LA and Santa Monica.