Final bids in for Australia light rail PPP

Two shortlisted consortia have submitted final bids for a $562m light rail project in Australia’s capital city.

The Australia Capital Territory (ACT) government has received proposals for Capital Metro Stage 1 from the two shortlisted consortia, Canberra Metro and ACTivate, to deliver the light rail public-private partnership (PPP) project in Canberra.

Canberra Metro’s members include Pacific Partnerships, Mitsubishi Corporation, Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments, John Holland, DB International, Leighton Contractors, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi.

ACTivate comprises Downer EDI Works, Plenary Origination, Bombardier Transportation Australia, Keolis Downer, Keolis SA, Parsons Brinckerhoff Australia, Aurecon Australasia, Cox Architecture, Itochu Australia, Partners Group.

As part of the ACT government’s strategy to transform the city into a sustainable one and meet the future demand for more transport capacity in the ACT, the Capital Metro project includes a 12-kilometre (km) light rail route from the City to Gungahlin with associated stop, depot, road, signalling and preparatory works, as well as a 3.2km extension to Russell in its Stage 2. 

The submission of proposals for Stage 2 is due by early October.

Under the PPP model, the design, construction, operations and maintenance of the light rail system shall be bundled with private sector finance for a proposed operating term.

The contract will span a period of 20 years, on top of an anticipated three-year construction period.

As the second major infrastructure project in the ACT to be delivered in form of a PPP, the project’s capital cost is estimated at A$783 million (€499 million; $562 million), including rolling stock and contingencies. 

The project is expected to support more than 3,500 jobs during construction and deliver more than A$1 billion in benefits to the ACT economy, according to Simon Corbell, Minister for Capital Metro Agency (CMA), the agency behind the project, in a statement.

Now that the bids are in, the CMA will commence the evaluation process before providing a recommendation to the ACT government in respect of the preferred consortium in early 2016.

The evaluation process is expected to take between three to four months.

Construction is expected to start in mid-2016 and the light rail to become operational by late 2019 or early 2020.