SFMTA to combine contracts for its Central Subway project

Courtesy RenderingMoving ahead: The SFMTA is consolidating four separate projects related to the Central Subway into a single major contract worth $720 million to $750 million.

Courtesy RenderingMoving ahead: The SFMTA is consolidating four separate projects related to the Central Subway into a single major contract worth $720 million to $750 million.

After initially soliciting four separate bids for its Central Subway station construction projects, Muni has elected to consolidate the plans into one major contract, a move that could save the agency up to $30 million.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency originally made separate construction projects out of its proposed Moscone Center, Union Square and Chinatown stations, along with another project for operating systems management of the $1.6 billion Central Subway project.

However, after discussing the projects with its local and federal funding partners, the agency has combined the plans into a single major contract worth $720 million to $750 million, project manager John Funghi said. When designs for all four plans were completed at the same time, Funghi said, that provided the agency with a unique opportunity to consolidate them. By eliminating constraints and redundancies posed by the separated contracts, he said the agency could save about $20 million to $30 million.

“The consolidated package will allow the agency to deliver this project on time and on budget,” Funghi said.

He said the decision to consolidate the plans had nothing to do with Tutor-Saliba, a contractor with a patchy history with The City, achieving the highest score for the $235 million Chinatown station construction contract earlier this year. That contracting giant has been involved in legal spats with the City Attorney’s Office over past projects, and the agency recently rejected all bids for the Chinatown station after Tutor-Saliba’s bid received the winning score.

“Tutor did a fine job for the SFMTA on our Muni Metro turnaround project,” Funghi said. “They have expressed interest in the new consolidated project and we welcome their bidding for this program.”

Company co-founder Ron Tutor called it the agency’s prerogative to consolidate the contracts.

“I gave up trying to figure out everything that’s been going on, but it’s not illogical to combine the contracts,” Tutor said. “I guess there are certain economies of scale that they think they can achieve. For us, it’s no big deal — we’ll bid again on the bigger contract.”

Funghi said the size of the contract will not preclude any construction firms from bidding. He said about seven firms have expressed interest in the $750 million pact. The same firms bid for the separated contracts as well, Funghi said.

The recent move by the Federal Transit Administration to award a $942 million grant for the project was also not a factor in the agency’s decision-making, Funghi said. Although the FTA is one of the agency’s funding partners, there was no request by the federal government to consolidate the contracts.

The bidding process will be opened on Jan. 13. The contract will be awarded later that year and work is expected to be finished by the end of 2018.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsFederal Transit AdministrationLocalMuniTransittransportation

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