Waterloo Region Says Rapid Transit Project Attractive to Builders

October 1, 2012 at 7:57 pm Leave a comment

Regional officials say the $818-million rapid transit project is getting a lot of attention from potential bidders.

“Our project is actually looking very attractive right now,” Thomas Schmidt, commissioner of transportation, told regional council on Tuesday.

“We are anticipating that between six to eight firms are interested in the request for qualifications.”

In October, the region will invite potential bidders to have their qualifications to design, build, finance, maintain and operate rapid transit evaluated.

Companies interested in bidding on the contract will answer questions on such issues as partnering, financing, construction experience, maintenance and operating experience.

Three front-runners will be shortlisted and invited to bid on the project in the spring. Construction on bus rapid transit is slated to start next summer and rapid transit in 2014.

“It’s attractive in different ways to different teams,” said Mike Murray, chief administrative officer.

Schmidt said bidders would be attracted by the scope of the project — without any tunnelling or other complicated work — and because of its scale.

“There are not very many, if any, big projects like this moving forward at this time,” Schmidt said.

The region expects capital costs involved in building tracks and infrastructure to be about $600 million.

About 25 per cent of that will likely be held back from the winning team and paid over the life of a 30-year contract as part of the design, build, operate, finance and maintain model.

The cash serves partly as an incentive to the contractors to do a good job and keep them from walking away from the project.

Coun. Jean Haalboom, who originally voted against using the private partnership model, said she still wasn’t satisfied.

“I remain very concerned about this,” she said.

Taking point on rapid transit is Darshpreet Bhatti, who was named director of rapid transit Sept. 25.

Bhatti, 33, has been acting director since Nancy Button resigned in March to take a consultant position in Toronto.

The University of Toronto engineering graduate has worked provincially as a consultant on transit, road and highway projects. He started on the region’s rapid transit project four years ago.

“I feel confident and I look forward to the future,” he said. “The experience over the last four years has given me that broad spectrum of what to expect.”

He added, “We need to make sure that we go out, we inform as much as we possibly can, and work with the community to give them the best product and service.”

Bhatti was appointed after the region searched across Canada and the U.S. for a new director and interviewed candidates from both countries, Schmidt said.

More information can view be viewed information on http://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/transithub

Source: TheRecord.ca

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Entry filed under: Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo, Waterloo Region. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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