ConnDOT: Governor Rell Receives New Haven Rail Facility Audit; Recommends Project be Scaled Back and Phased-In

 
  CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

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Governor Rell Receives New Haven Rail Facility Audit; Recommends Project be Scaled Back and Phased-In

 

Project Can Move Forward With Scope Reduced to Lower Costs

 

 

            Governor M. Jodi Rell today received the audit of the New Haven Rail Maintenance Facility and said she will recommend that the project be scaled back from the original design so that only essential components move forward now. The new facility is needed for maintenance of new M-8 rail cars on Metro-North’s New Haven Line.

 

            In June, Governor Rell ordered the Office of Policy and Management to undertake the review after the projected cost of the rail maintenance facility escalated far beyond original estimates. The audit was performed by Hill International, Inc. and included a review of the scope, design and constructability of the project and a review of DOT’s cost estimation policies, procedures and practices.

 

            “This facility is a critical part of our effort to modernize our rail equipment and facilities, but its financing plan must recognize our current fiscal reality,” Governor Rell said. “My commitment to building a 21st century transportation system is unwavering. However, we must ensure that we build this facility in a way that meets our needs in the most cost-effective way possible. That means building no more than we need – and spending no more than we can afford.

 

            “The rail facility will complement our other infrastructure investments and help position Connecticut for future growth,” the Governor said. “Modern rail cars, new rail stations and state-of-the-art facilities will support our economy and help grow jobs. This facility – and all of our other improvements to our transportation system – represents an investment in our economy and quality of life. The New Haven line is the busiest commuter rail line in America. We need first-rate equipment and the ability to maintain it.”

 

            The Governor said the Hill audit divided the individual facilities included in the original overall design of the project into three tiers. Tier One projects are required for the proper operation of the rail line and the maintenance of the new M-8 rail cars, which are expected to be delivered to Connecticut later this year. Tier Two improvements are enhancements beyond critical functions. Tier Three improvements are elements of the project that may be deferred or eliminated.

 

            Governor Rell directed the Department of Transportation and the Office of Policy and Management to take the following initial actions:

 

·        Develop a financing plan for Tier One improvements to be presented to the General Assembly in January

·        Defer Tier Two and Tier Three facilities in the project

·        Eliminate the fourth floor of the facility’s Component Change Out Facility, which was to house office space, and identify other non-operational facilities that can be eliminated

·        Control and reduce project “soft-costs,” including project management and engineering costs

 

                Governor Rell also directed DOT to develop a plan to implement the audit’s recommendations for improving the agency’s cost estimation and project management procedures and to provide a progress report no later than February 1.  Governor Rell noted that several of the recommendations regarding cost estimating and project engineering are already being addressed as a result of the DOT's recent decision to split the agency's Bureau of Engineering and Highway Operations into two bureaus, the Bureau of Engineering and Construction, and the Bureau of Highway Operations.

 

In addition, the Governor asked that copies of the report be provided to members of the Legislature and that DOT, OPM and Hill International make their staffs available to lawmakers to respond to any questions or concerns they may have.

 

Tier One improvements that will be incorporated into the DOT financing and construction plan include the Component Change Out Shop, which is the most critical element in the new maintenance facility. The scope and cost of the shop are being reduced by eliminating the fourth-floor office space. Other Tier One improvements include:

 

·        Acceptance facilities for the new cars

·        Improvements to existing maintenance facilities

·        Diesel storage facilities

·        Off-site warehouse facilities

·        Improved wheel maintenance facilities

·        Improvements to tracks, train control signals and train storage facilities.

 

            Other costs savings include:

 

·        Eliminating a proposed parking garage and substituting adjacent, at-grade parking

·        Eliminating a proposed central warehouse and substituting an off-site facility

·        Reducing the scope of other shop facility improvements to more accurately reflect required capacity

·        Reducing the scope of the Independent Wheel True facility

·        Deferring construction of a rail car washing facility

·        Eliminating a proposed pedestrian bridge for staff and substituting an at-grade walkway

 

            The cost estimate to complete Tier One improvements is $849.3 million. Tier Two and Three improvements, which are being deferred or eliminated, are estimated at $234.8 million.

                                                                       

To view "Hill International Report", please select here.