First bullet train construction bid is below state estimate


The top candidate to build the first 29 miles of California’s bullet train in the Central Valley bid just under $1 billion, below the state’s estimates of the cost, high-speed rail officials announced Friday.

The California High Speed Rail Authority said the Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons joint venture submitted a bid of about $985 million and was ranked first out of five competitors. The team offered the “apparent best value” based on price and technical proposals, officials said.

Rail officials had estimated the cost of the initial section between Madera and Fresno at $1.2 billion to $1.8 billion. Construction is supposed to begin by July.


“Today is a significant milestone,” said Jeff Morales, the authority’s chief executive. “We received proposals from five world-class teams and are moving forward to deliver a world-class program. It’s time to get to work in the Central Valley and create thousands of jobs.”

Tutor Perini, based in Sylmar, is a key partner in the joint venture. The firm has worked closely with unions in the past. Trade unions are strongly backing the project and spent $1 million on the political campaign to win voter approval of the system in 2008.

The high-speed rail board is expected to award the contract for the first section in the coming weeks.

Of the five bidders, the Dragados/Samsung/Pulice joint venture came in second with a bid of about $1.1 billion. California Backbone Builders was third with a bid of almost $1.4 billion. California High-Speed Rail Partners was fourth with a bid of about $1.3 billion, and California High Speed Ventures was fifth with a bid of almost $1.54 billion.


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