$1.8bn Edmonton light rail project will be a PPP

A first quarter review concluded with Edmonton giving a green-light to a PPP that will add a southeast leg to its light rail network. The decision marked the first ever ‘greenfield’ project for the Alberta province.

A city council vote to determine if a light rail train (LRT) project in Edmonton should use traditional financing or harness a public-private partnership (PPP) has ended in favour of the private sector alternative.

The decision will let Edmonton, the capital of Alberta, Canada, request funding from the federal government-administered P3 Canada Fund to add a 13-kilometre southeast leg to its LRT network. In addition, Edmonton will also ask for funding from Alberta. 

The project, an extension from Mill Woods – a district of Edmonton – to Downtown Centre West, has an estimated price tag of C$1.8 billion ($1.8 billion; €1.4 billion). The council decided to opt for a PPP in a meeting earlier in May.

The city in the first quarter began conducting a value-for-money assessment between a PPP and a design-build approach. Edmonton filed for an application to PPP Canada, manager of the P3 Canada Fund, for the rail, as well as an adjacent light rail vehicle garage.

The LRT project would mark the first 'greenfield' PPP for Edmonton.

Last week, the city reached financial close with a consortium run by Meridiam Infrastructure to revamp Northeast Anthony Henday Drive – a C$1.8 billion, 27-kilometre road project.