Ottawa issues RFQ for C$2.1bn light rail PPP

The project involves the construction of a new tunnel and a 12.5km electric light rail line in downtown Ottawa. The winning bidder will be expected to finance up to C$400m of the project costs.

The City of Ottawa has issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) for a public-private partnership (PPP) to build, design, finance and maintain a light rail line in Canada’s national capital.

The project is estimated to cost C$2.1 billion (€1.5 billion; $2.2 billion) and the bid winner is expected to finance up to C$400 million of those costs, according to a City Council report on the project. The minimum term for construction and maintenance of the system will be 15 years.

The project involves the construction of a new 3.2-kilometre tunnel and a 12.5-kilometre, 13-station electric light rail line to replace on-street bus rapid transit lines in downtown Ottawa.

The City of Ottawa will engage Infrastructure Ontario, the province’s procurement agency, as the commercial procurement lead for the PPP, according to the City Council report.

Responses to the RFQ will be due on September 13, and Ottawa expects to announce a shortlist of respondents in October. The request for proposals process is expected to last nine months, and Ottawa aims to choose a preferred bidder by December 2012, according to a statement on the project website.

Ontario’s Ministry of Infrastructure recently released a 10-year plan that includes C$35 billion in infrastructure investments over the next three years. The light rail project, which is currently in the preliminary engineering stage, is part of the city’s broader master transportation plan that includes construction of 41 kilometres of new rail lines in Ottawa by 2031.