Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

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HiawathaGuy
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby HiawathaGuy » September 11th, 2017, 11:20 am

I mean, at this point, shouldn't the Met Council be looking at cost efficiencies through combining the Green and Blue extensions? One would think that's the best place to find cost savings. Is that not an option? This just seems so incredibly complex, unlike what seems like other cities having a much easier/faster path to building their light rail lines/extensions.

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VacantLuxuries
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby VacantLuxuries » September 11th, 2017, 11:22 am

At this point they should be planning on building in phases because they seem determined to delay until federal funding isn't available.

phop
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby phop » September 11th, 2017, 11:40 am

Every delay costs money, so they're going to have to justify that the re-bidding will result in greater cost savings than the cost of the four-month delay.

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Tiller
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Tiller » September 11th, 2017, 3:42 pm

I am just baffled. Did they internalize Republicans' desire to kill it, and now want it to die so they can spend the money on other things?

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby Silophant » September 11th, 2017, 4:02 pm

I cannot comprehend why no one official has floated the idea of building it in phases.

David Greene
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » September 11th, 2017, 5:26 pm

I would guess if they did that we'd have to start the federal process all over.

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DanPatchToget
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby DanPatchToget » September 12th, 2017, 3:15 am

How far could we get with non-federal funding and then just have a bus bridge between where it ends and Eden Prairie?

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VacantLuxuries
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby VacantLuxuries » September 12th, 2017, 8:04 am

I would guess if they did that we'd have to start the federal process all over.
That's if we wanted to apply for federal funding. Building it in phases would allow us to afford it without their help, though it wouldn't save us at this point from having to choose a route that meets their stupid ridership criteria that landed us with the current SWLRT alignment.
How far could we get with non-federal funding and then just have a bus bridge between where it ends and Eden Prairie?
Build it to Hopkins. SW Transit could continue to operate their express shuttles, and Metro could create a connector for those who want to use local SWLRT stations. Honestly, at that point, I would be fine if it never was completed to Eden Prairie.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby MNdible » September 12th, 2017, 8:41 am

I know that building it in phases has been a hot hot idea that everybody on the forum is totes stoked about, but there are a lot of regional partners who've stuck their neck out to support this project that will be left hanging. That, and leaving a billion dollars of federal money sitting on the table, makes it an unlikely proposition.

We're in a tough bidding environment right now. It's not terribly surprising that the bids came in poorly. They'll tweak the bidding documents, rebid, and see where things stand.

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VacantLuxuries
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby VacantLuxuries » September 12th, 2017, 10:05 am

That, and leaving a billion dollars of federal money sitting on the table, makes it an unlikely proposition.
The federal powers that be already want to kill that money. It's only a matter of time before they succeed. I'd rather us not assume we can keep delaying for this, that, and the other thing indefinitely and still have that federal money waiting for us.

acs
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby acs » September 12th, 2017, 10:51 am

This project is gift that just keeps on giving...to transit opponents that is. At this point it seems like the supporters of this project as-is only do so to keep opponents from getting a win. All the delays, overruns, and problems with this line have set back mass transit support in this city damn near to square 1.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » September 12th, 2017, 11:52 am

VacantLuxuries wrote:
September 12th, 2017, 8:04 am
Build it to Hopkins. SW Transit could continue to operate their express shuttles, and Metro could create a connector for those who want to use local SWLRT stations. Honestly, at that point, I would be fine if it never was completed to Eden Prairie.
Unacceptable. Eden Prairie has some of the most economically and racially diverse station areas along the whole line.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » September 12th, 2017, 11:54 am

VacantLuxuries wrote:
September 12th, 2017, 10:05 am
That, and leaving a billion dollars of federal money sitting on the table, makes it an unlikely proposition.
The federal powers that be already want to kill that money. It's only a matter of time before they succeed. I'd rather us not assume we can keep delaying for this, that, and the other thing indefinitely and still have that federal money waiting for us.
You're paying far too much attention to Trump. Congress does not want to kill infrastructure money. No way a budget passes that kills transit funding. The Dems won't let it happen. We'll probably just end up with another continuing resolution.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » September 12th, 2017, 11:56 am

acs wrote:
September 12th, 2017, 10:51 am
This project is gift that just keeps on giving...to transit opponents that is. At this point it seems like the supporters of this project as-is only do so to keep opponents from getting a win. All the delays, overruns, and problems with this line have set back mass transit support in this city damn near to square 1.
Well, what should we do? Accept high bids and get pummeled for going over budget, rebid and get pummeled for delays or scrap the whole thing and get pummeled for "proving transit doesn't work here?"

There is literally nothing we can do to satisfy transit opponents, so we shouldn't bother trying. If the Met Council thinks a rebid will save more money than the delay will cost (and not just in dollars), I'm all for it. That's all they should be focused on right now.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby RailBaronYarr » September 12th, 2017, 12:04 pm

So MNdible and David - what happens if/when the re-bid package comes back in 6 months with very little movement on costs? What gets cut? The tunnel in Kenilworth? Some stations? Bike bridges? The whole line? What's making us think that whatever requirements or bidding environment making what we got back too high will drastically change in such a short timeframe (or, as others have noted, not be eclipsed by inflation)?

Someone else correct me if I'm wrong here, but I was under the impression that we could build a portion of the line with local dollars and finish it later with a re-application for matching federal funds so long as it still meets the LPA, findings of the FEIS, and ridership projections? I understand the regional politics at play - communities who've bought in on the line are also ones with citizens paying a quarter cent (now half-cent) sales tax to go toward transit, and straight up telling them 'sorry, not getting this, at least not now' is hard! But what is the alternative if the bids are just simply way higher than the engineering estimates? No line at all? Shift more local dollars to this line to cover the gap - local dollars that could go toward amazing transit improvements that serve economically and racially diverse areas (like Midtown, or literally any aBRT line)?

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby David Greene » September 12th, 2017, 12:15 pm

I have no idea if re-bidding will help. That's what the Council needs to determine. I have no position on what they should do since I'm not privy to the details. I trust that the smart folks over there will figure it out.

If they re-bid and the bids don't get lower, then there are some hard decisions to make. I don't think we could get rid of the tunnel at this point. We could ask local entities to pitch in a bit more. I don't think that would necessitate "taking" from other investments, because if, say, Eden Prairie kicked in more money, it's not like that money would have gone to aBRT. I'm sure the county would have to cover a bit more but up to a point it's worth it to keep the project moving. This is an important piece of our transit system because it will drive ridership to those other investments. These kinds of decisions are what we pay our elected officials to make.

I don't know what the implications of going over budget are wrt FTA approval. I can't imagine they're good. At one point FTA would scrap a project if it exceeded the CEI ceiling, no matter how much funding was local. I don't know if that's still the case.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby MNdible » September 12th, 2017, 12:25 pm

Yeah, the "what if the bids don't get better" question is a great question that's beyond my paygrade. Hopefully it's a bridge we don't have to cross.

It might be worth focusing a bit on their wording, which was something like "bids were overbudget and non-responsive". It's not clear if all of the bids were both overbudget and non-responsive (remember that there was a pretty big range between bids). It's possible that the low bids actually met their budget but had some caveats with them that the Met Council wasn't willing to accept, or at least not without the chance for other bidders to match them and potentially lower their bids. The language about modifying the bidding docs could be in reference to incorporating some alternates proposed by low bidders that they didn't feel they could accept outright without giving other bidders a chance to price them.

I don't know a thing about the overall budget, but it seems like spending $797m of a $1.8b budget on what should definitely be the most expensive civil package in the project doesn't seem outrageous.

TroyGBiv
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby TroyGBiv » September 15th, 2017, 11:07 am

4 out of 5 Minnesota construction companies report that they can't find enough workers... (from today's paper) construction boom times make public infrastructure projects more expensive... that is why it is ideal to shift to infrastructure investment during a down economy... it then generates more private economic activity... not to say that we shouldn't be doing infrastructure at all times...

alexschief
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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby alexschief » September 15th, 2017, 1:10 pm

As usual, Peter Callaghan has a fair and well-reported article about what the rebid means.

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Re: Southwest LRT (Green Line Extension)

Postby LRV Op Dude » October 25th, 2017, 3:53 pm

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