The federally-mandated system must be installed by the end of 2018 and Caltrain took steps to end the contract after "continued delays in delivering the project and an utter lack of progress in moving the project forward consistent with PTG's contractual obligations."
Caltrain also explained the termination action was taken after repeated intervention, peer reviews and increased oversight of the Joint Powers Board failed to improve performance of the contractor. It was deemed necessary to terminate this contract now to maintain schedule and to exercise cost control of the project.
"The Positive Train Control work being done is imperative to the safety and reliability of rail service on our right-of-way," said Caltrain Chief Operating Officer Michelle Bouchard. "Due to PTG's continued failure to perform, combined with their potential to cause program delay, the decision to terminate was necessary to keep the program on schedule while also exercising cost control over its delivery."
Caltrain says it has immediately begun the process of identifying a replacement party who has the demonstrated ability to perform. While this action will complicate final delivery, it was done at this time to ensure that it does not impede progress on the Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (PCEP) and will not jeopardize the significant progress being made by the Positive Train Control project. That progress includes the now complete installation of wayside and onboard hardware, installation of a fiber optic backbone and the build out of a new backup control center facility.
In other PCEP news, Caltrain was able to negotiate an extension of the deadline for contractors to begin construction of the PCEP while the agency awaits a decision from the Federal Transit Administration about the execution of a $647 million funding agreement.
The contractors agreed to extend the deadline for four months, from March 1 to June 30. Last week, FTA announced that execution of the grant would be delayed until the President makes decisions about the availability of funds in the administration's upcoming budget proposal to Congress. The extension is needed to preserve the electrification project's contracts during this time.
Caltrain explains that the extension does not come without cost implications. Buying additional time from the contractors will likely require the utilization of up to $20 million in project contingency that otherwise would have been available for construction-related expenses in the future.
However, Caltrain believes it has bought all the extra time with this extension, saying additional extensions may not be possible.
"Our contractors have agreed to delay construction for the maximum amount of time possible," said Caltrain Executive Director Jim Hartnett. "Delaying a decision on Federal funding beyond June 30 will be the same as rejecting the grant."