Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project Program Management

san diego mid coast trolley vehicle

Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project Program Management

Program Management and Grant Support for a New Connection in San Diego

The Mid-Coast Trolley, which opened in November 2021, connects downtown San Diego to University City, an area of flourishing development that’s considered San Diego’s second downtown.

This $2.2 billion light-rail transit line closes the 11-mile gap between the areas, reducing congestion in one of the country’s largest cities. It operates on elevated track structures nearly half that distance and at grade for the remainder. It will stop at nine new stations and serve an estimated 21,000 new daily transit riders. The Mid-Coast Trolley will function as a northern extension of the region’s current Blue Line Trolley, which operates north and south between downtown and the international border. Now a student that lives near the border can take a one seat ride to the University of California San Diego providing a more equitable commute for those that rely on transit.

HDR, in partnership with TY Lin International, serves as program management extension to senior staff at the San Diego Association of Governments. When HDR joined the project in early 2011, SANDAG needed a team familiar with local and federal requirements and with a proven understanding of the agency’s strategies. We work on behalf of SANDAG to bring consensus among cooperating agencies and key stakeholders, support funding strategies, and provide engineering and leadership support.

We work side by side with SANDAG staff to augment their expertise and support the program phases from project development, environmental, design and into construction and readiness for operations. Our team was tailored and re-tailored to complement existing expertise and meet the unique demands of SANDAG and the project.

We provided full technical review of plans prepared for construction by the project engineering consultant and we reviewed all Federal Transit Administration Section 130 (c) issues, Requests for Information and construction change orders, as well as providing independent cost estimates for any proposed changes.

We also provide expertise for the safety and security certification process, helping SANDAG obtain approval from the California Public Utilities Commission.

Grant Assistance

In our role on the program management team, we supported SANDAG in developing strategies for the successful New Starts grant application that secured $1.04 billion in funding from the Federal Transit Administration in September 2016. HDR provided experience and expertise in the FTA’s FFGA process that helped SANDAG successfully obtain the FFGA within an important schedule timeframe. We led the development of the project management plan and key sub-plans that were requirements for the FFGA.

Budget and Schedule Control

HDR’s role as the project management consultant also includes the critical role of budget and schedule management. Our team’s experience in project controls and producing clear and detailed reports has enabled this project to stay on budget and within schedule. Our team tracks and follows up with responsible parties to close out action items from weekly and monthly meetings, enabling the project team to proactively manage the schedule and budget. This allows us to identify for SANDAG managers any budget and schedule elements that were at risk for overruns or slippage so that a mitigation plan can be developed. The comprehensive effort ensured that timely, accurate and comprehensive documentation is available for future reference and auditing/reporting purposes.

san diego mid coast trolley vehicle
San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)

San Diego County, CA
United States


Design Award (2023)
Transportation, Best Non-Highway Bridge
Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute
Project of the Year (2022)
California Transportation Foundation
Award of Merit (2022)
Airport/Transit Category
Engineering News-Record California