The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority on November 8 issued the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the Alignment Design-Build Project for the next segment of the Foothill Gold Line light rail in Southern California. The RFQ announcement will kick off a year-long process to hire the design-build team that will build the $1.5 billion, six-station rail extension from the cities of Glendora to Montclair.

The RFQ is the first of a two-step, competitive process, that will result in a short-list of the "most qualified" teams to compete for the work. The RFQ requires interested teams and/or firms to detail their qualifications to complete all elements of the light rail project. This includes detailing their experience in completing similar projects, credentials of their key personnel, a staffing plan and their expected main subcontractors. The interested parties must also demonstrate financial and legal qualifications to conduct the work.

 “As the first Measure M-funded rail project out of the gate, we know that interest in the project is very high in the industry,” said Construction Authority CEO, Habib F. Balian in a news release. “We have developed a procurement process that will provide the Authority the best contractor for the best price; but it starts by identifying the most qualified teams and focusing our search on those teams.”

The Foothill Gold Line from Glendora to Montclair will extend the Metro Gold Line 12.3 miles and add stations in the Los Angeles County cities of Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona, Claremont, and Montclair. As with the Pasadena to Azusa segment - the previous segment of the Gold Line project - the extension from Glendora to Montclair is planned to be built along the former Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe (ATSF) right-of-way, which was purchased by Metro in the early 1990s for the project.

Statements of Qualifications in response to the RFQ are due in January 2018. The Construction Authority says the responses will be evaluated by a committee of experts who will recommend the short-list of the most qualified and experienced teams to the Construction Authority board of directors. Only those teams short-listed through the RFQ process will receive the Request for Proposals (RFP), to be released in Spring 2018. The RFP will require the short-listed teams to review the engineering and planning for the project and provide their proposals to complete the project.

“We know that there are many qualified teams that could complete this project,” said Balian. “This initial step is critical, as it allows us to narrow the field to those that are most qualified, so we can feel very confident moving into the next step.”

In September, the Construction Authority board of directors voted to award a $2.6-million Utility Relocation design-bid-build contract to Long Beach, CA-based W.A. Rasic Construction Company, Inc. for utility relocation work. This was the first of two contacts to be awarded for the project.

Over the next three years, W.A. Rasic Construction will protect and relocate strategic utilities throughout the alignment; each identified to benefit the future work of the main alignment design-build contractor. The Construction Authority received five bids for the Utility Relocation design-bid-build contract and W.A. Rasic was the lowest price, responsive bidder. 

Once the Alignment design-build contract is awarded in late 2018, officials say that major construction should begin in 2020 and complete in 2026. An official groundbreaking ceremony for the project will be held on December 2. The first year of the project will be used to relocate utilities, conduct other pre-construction activities, and to hire a design-build contractor.

The Gold Line's previous rail project was the 11.5-mile, six-station Pasadena to Azusa segment, which broke ground in 2010 and began passenger service in March, 2016.