The NSW Government (Australia), through Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian, has announced that the Connecting Sydney consortium has been selected as the preferred bidder for the new light rail system for CBD and South East Sydney.
The team beat out competition from two others consortium: SydneyConnect, composed by Serco, John Holland and Plenary Group, and a Balfour Beatty - led consortium, composed also by Keolis Downer, Bombardier, Macquarie Capital and McConnell Dowell.
A Balfour Beatty - led consortium withdrew from the PPP tender process in late July. Balfour Beatty was concerned about cost overruns on moving underground utilities in George Street, but other sources mentioned that the company had recently signalled a profit warning and it was reviewing its operations in Australia.
According to Mrs. Berejiklian the light rail would have 50 per cent more capacity than the 9,000 passengers per hour previously planned. The preferred bidder has also proposed reducing the expected length of time of construction along George Street, with extra support staff on the ground.
The contract will cover design, finance, construction, services relocations, operation and maintenance of the 12-kilometre project, as well as the operation and maintenance of the Inner West Light Rail network.
The project is estimated to cost approximately A$1.6 billion.
Mrs. Berejiklian commented:
Light rail has been selected as the best value for money solution to the crippling congestion reducing Sydney's productivity which currently costs the NSW economy around $5.1 billion per year and is expected to rise to $8.8 billion by 2021.
The state said further detail on the successful tender will be released when the contract is awarded by the end of the year.
Construction is expected to commence this year 2014 and is expected to take five or six years to complete. From mid-2015, the preferred bidder will also operate and maintain the existing light rail network. The service is expected to be open and operational between 2019 and 2020.