While it waits for federal funding to come through, IndyGo is moving forward as far as it can with plans for its Red Line bus rapid transit project.
On Thursday, that included awarding two contracts totaling $10.8 million for project planning and construction management.
The Red Line is envisioned as a 35-mile bus rapid transit line that would run through Hamilton, Marion and Johnson counties, connecting Westfield, Carmel, Indianapolis and Greenwood. Total project cost is estimated at $198 million.
Phase 1 of the project would be a 13-mile stretch running from 66th Street in Broad Ripple to the University of Indianapolis. Construction on this phase is expected to start in spring 2017, with routes open for service in fall 2018.
The first phase alone is expected to cost $96 million to build and another $6 million annually to operate.
In February, the Federal Transit Administration recommended the Red Line Phase 1 project for $75 million in funding from a federal grant program called Small Starts. That funding recommendation is making its way through Congress now as legislators hash out the 2017 federal budget.
In the meantime, IndyGo said it needs to keep things moving on its end.
“They [the federal government] want to see the project continue to move forward,” said Justin Stuehrenberg, IndyGo’s director of special transit projects.
Under the way the federal grants program is structured, funding is released only when projects are at a construction-ready phase, Stuehrenberg said.
To that end, the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corp.’s board of directors—IndyGo’s governing body—on Thursday awarded the two contracts totaling more than $10 million.
The board voted unanimously to approve a $5 million contract to HNTB Corp. as construction manager for Phase 1 of the Red Line. HNTB is a Kansas City, Missouri-based company with an office in Indianapolis.
The board also agreed to amend its contract with CDM Smith, a Boston-based company with an office in Indianapolis. IndyGo hired CDM Smith last year to do preliminary design and environmental work.
Now, Stuehrenberg said, IndyGo needs to flesh out those designs, adding details that construction crews will need.
CDM Smith’s amended contract is for an additional $5.8 million.
Stuehrenberg said these awards bring IndyGo’s total spending on project professional services to $14 million. With these contracts, he said, IndyGo shouldn’t need to spend any more on professional services for Phase 1 of the Red Line. IndyGo had budgeted $15.2 million for this line item, meaning that this part of the project is coming in under budget, he said.
In addition to the $75 million in pending federal funding, money for Phase 1 of the Red Line would come from a variety of other sources.
Another $3.3 million comes from a U.S. Department of Transportation grant plus local match. And IndyGo, the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and the city’s downtown TIF district will each contribute $6 million.
A few other pieces of the Red Line project are also moving forward as well.
IndyGo is running a competition to solicit design ideas for Red Line Phase 1 stations. The winning design team gets a $5,000 cash prize, and its design idea will be adapted into the 28 stations—essentially, bus stops—along Phase 1.
Stuehrenberg told board members that more than 45 design teams have registered to participate in the contest. Entries are due by July 8.
The winning team will be selected by an eight-member panel of judges, along with public voting.
IndyGo is planning a series of public meetings in late July to update residents on Red Line project progress.
Attendees also can vote on design contest entries at the meetings.
Dates, times and locations for these meetings have yet to be announced.