RFQ issued for US$1.25 billion light rail PPP in Canada

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RFQ issued for US$1.25 billion light rail PPP in Canada

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Translink, the regional transport agency for the Vancouver metropolitan area in British Columbia, south-west Canada, has published a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the Surrey-Newton-Guildford Light Rail Transit (LRT) project, which has a total estimated investment of CAD1.65 billion (US$1.25 billion).

Located in the city of Surrey, the LRT will consist of a 10.5km street-level light rail service connecting the Guilford and Newton neighbourhoods via 11 stations, two of which will be interchanges. The route has a projected 27-minute travel time. Vehicles will arrive every every five minutes in peak hours.

Translink is seeking a private partner to design, construct, operate, maintain, rehabilitate and partially finance the project. The agency intends for the LRT to begin construction in 2020 and commence operations in 2024.

The deadline to respond to the RFQ is 31 October 2018TransLink anticipates identifying up to three respondents to be invited to participate in the Request for Proposals (RFP) phase of the selection process.

One of the main drivers of the LRT is the region's projected population growth. It is forecast that over the next 30 years, Surrey will welcome 300,000 new residents and surpass Vancouver as the most populous city in the province. 

Last week, the Government of Canada announced a significant funding package for the project, amounting to CAD483.8 million (US$367.3 million). The LRT will be also be supported by provincial government funds, so it is not clear how much of the total investment is expected to be provided by the private partner.

Upon completion, the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT will be the first light-rail transit system in British Columbia. In developing the project, the government of British Columbia joins contemporaries across Canada in the successful implementation of greenfield LRT projects through public-private partnerships.

A consortium containing ACS, Aecon and Ellis-Don is currently constructing the Eglington Crosstown LRT in Toronto. Also, ACS and Aecon, this time in consortium with CRH Canada, reached financial close on another LRT in Toronto earlier this year.

Elsewhere, Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (CDPQ) reached financial close on a CAD6.3 billion (US$4.78 billion) LRT project in Montreal just last month. Furthermore, the City of Calgary, in the province of Alberta, has recently confirmed that it will tender a light rail project to private partners before the end of 2018.

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