ST. PETERSBURG — The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority Board of Directors unanimously passed a nine item consent agenda Jan. 29 with no discussion.

One of those items was a contract amendment with H.W. Lochner for another $650,000 for design support services during construction of the Central Avenue Bus Rapid Transit project and an amendment to pay another $1.11 million for project management and construction management services with HDR Inc.

The total for H.W. Lochner’s services increased to $4.2 million. According to written documentation from Abhishek Dayal, PSTA’s director of project management, ongoing support will be needed from H.W. Lochner, PSTA’s principal designer, during procurement processes, reviewing submittals and approving proposed changes during construction.

HDR Inc. has been working on project design reviews, development of cost estimates and other project readiness documents required by the Federal Transit Administration. The amendment extends the contract for lead construction management services during procurement and the construction phase, including construction oversight, field inspections, material testing and system integration services. The new value of the contract is $2.8 million.

Expenses for both contracts are included in the project’s $43.9 million budget.

The board also approved a contract for $378,000 with Odyssey Global to build a bus turnaround facility at the Pinellas County Beach Access Park off Gulf Boulevard in St. Pete Beach.

That project is technically the first construction project as part of the BRT project; however, in the beginning it will serve as the turnaround for the Central Avenue Trolley. The city of St. Pete Beach opposed plans to have the BRT travel through its city and it subsequently canceled its contract with PSTA for service.

PSTA still expects to begin construction of the BRT project sometime this year, most likely this summer, with service beginning in 2021. Final design is 90% complete. PSTA started planning the project in 2015 and moved into the design phase in 2018.

Plans to fund the project include money from federal, state and local sources.

PSTA has applied for funding from the Federal Transportation Administration’s Small Starts Capital Investments Grants Program, which officials say would pay for about 50% of the project with 24% coming from the state and 26% from local funding.

Dayal told the board at a meeting in June 2019 that everything was on track to receive the FTA grant by the end of the year. But that didn’t happen.

As part of the consent agenda, the Board also approved a temporary construction agreement with University of South Florida for the BRT project.

PSTA has been working with USF on the design of a station near Third Street South and Sixth Avenue South, which will include pedestrian and bike connections. Construction of the station will require a temporary construction easement.

Other items approved as part of consent, included:

• Memorandum of understanding with Hillsborough Area Regional Transit to include additional areas the two transit agencies could collaborate on and coordinate operations. The new MOU includes planning, marketing and communications and eliminates joint goal setting, legislative priorities and regional transit planning mobile applications. HART has also terminated the agreement to share a risk manager.

• Two-year contract with three one-year options with Cummins Inc. for a $1.8 million contract for replacement engines.

• Two-year contact with three one-year options with Gillig LLC for a $532,000 contract for replacement transmissions.

• Amendment for the Trips and Equipment Grant from the Florida Commission for Transportation Disadvantages, which gives PSTA an additional $114,242 for transportation disadvantaged services, and an amendment for four coordination agreements with local nonprofit transportation providers for an additional $39,105.

• Revisions to the drug and alcohol policy, including separating the policy for safety sensitive and non-safety sensitive employees and introducing a voluntary self-referral policy for employees who proactively seek help for substance abuse issues.

• New provider contract with UZURV for the Mobility on Demand program and extension of Transportation Disadvantaged Late Shift provider contracts allowing them to provide service for new TD Direct Connection program.

• Evaluation criteria for 2020 auditing services to be included in a request for proposals as required by state law that went into effect July 1, 2019.

Suzette Porter is TBN’s Pinellas County editor. She can be reached at sporter@tbnweekly.com.