The new Fayetteville Area System of Transit bus terminal will come online under budget this spring. City officials say that, despite numerous delays, the transit center is more than $500,000 under budget. The City of Fayetteville was awarded a Federal Transit Administration grant of $8 million in 2012. At that time, the facility was a concept that had been in development for over six years. The project was selected by the federal government on a competitive basis and was the largest FTA grant of its kind ever awarded in the state of North Carolina. It represents 80 percent of the cost to build the basic transit portions of the facility.
A local firm, Construction Systems, Inc., was the low bidder and was awarded the building contract in August of 2014. The total cost of construction was set at $12,150,000. City council increased the budget to $12,441,000 to cover unforeseen costs of soil remediation and removal, said Transit Director Randy Hume. The site at West Russell and Robeson Streets was the former location of a commercial laundry, and toxic cleansers had saturated the ground over time. In addition to the federal grant, the State of North Carolina initially contributed more than $1 million in matching funds, and has added to it since then. The city’s current share of the project is $1,486,325. That’s more than half a million dollars less than the $2,003,750 originally committed by city council.
The current total budget for the project is $12,654,125. The contract with CSI, with change orders, is $11,891,751. The city has additional commitments related to construction management, inspections and testing totaling $441,000. Also, Hume says, FAST expects some additional costs related to bus bay signs, technology components and public art of $270,000. That brings the total cost to $12,602,751, which is under budget.
Unforeseen delays in construction have not resulted in added costs from the contractor. “Based on our contract, we will have substantial claims against CSI for liquidated damages,” Hume stated. “Liquidated damages are a contractual agreement … when damage occurs,” said Deputy City Manager Kristoff Bauer. “We have contractually agreed that the loss is $1,000 per day,” he added. FAST applied for and received federal grants to cover 80 percent of the added costs. And, NCDOT provided $213,125 of additional grant funds which were set aside as a contingency.
“I am not expecting any significant cost overruns from CSI,” Hume stated. “We will have added costs related to construction administration and management because of the delays in completing the project. We have enough contingency in the budget to handle these.”
The city makes “progress payments” to the contractor as construction proceeds. Payments are based on the work completed as certified by the project architect, according to Bauer. The construction contract has a provision whereby the city holds out about 5 percent of each payment to ensure all the work is completed, Bauer added. He pointed out that this project experienced three different challenges along the way. The first was the unexpected requirement to remove contaminated soils. The second was a series of permitting and design issues, some of it relating to relocation of previously permitted utilities. The third issue was with a subcontractor who was unable to deliver and assemble steel for bus bays. That subcontractor had to be replaced. The soil was addressed early. The other two issues have had spillover effects described as far more complex. “At each stage, however, the City has timely inspected work, provided effective notice and held the appropriate party accountable,” noted the deputy manager. Completion date for the transit center originally was June 17, 2016. “A six- to eight-week preparation period is needed following completion before our opening,” said Hume. Had the general contractor met the contract date, the center would have opened in late August 2016. Hume says the new date for operations to begin is this May.