Progress continues on ION, the Region of Waterloo’s rapid transit service
Short-listed teams invited to submit proposals
Waterloo Region Regional Council has approved the release of the Request for Proposal (RFP) to three shortlisted teams in the running to implement Stage 1 light rail transit (LRT) in Waterloo Region.
“The release of the RFP is a major milestone because it brings the Region one step closer to the start of construction for ION,” said Jim Wideman, Regional Councillor and Chair of the Planning and Works Committee.
The three shortlisted teams GrandLinq, Kitchener Waterloo Cambridge Transit Partners, and Tricity Transit System -- will have approximately six months to prepare and submit their proposals. The short-listed teams are comprised of some of the most experienced companies building transit infrastructure in Canada.
Between October 2012 and February 2013, the Region conducted a rigorous and competitive request for qualifications process that reviewed and ranked the interested teams’ approach to partnering, designing, building, financing, maintaining, and operating Stage 1 LRT. This process resulted in the three highest ranking teams being selected to submit proposals during the RFP stage of the procurement process.
Once RFP submissions are received, the Region will evaluate each submission, select a preferred team and work with it to finalize the Project Agreement. The entire process will be overseen by a fairness monitor, P1 Consulting, and the successful team will be announced in early-2014.
“Providing opportunities for the local business community to be part of building ION in the region is an important part of the project,” said Darshpreet Bhatti, Director of Rapid Transit. “Already, some firms from Waterloo Region are working on the project. And, in April, the Region partnered with the Greater Kitchener Waterloo and Cambridge Chambers of Commerce to host a rapid transit tradeshow for local business to meet with each of the three short-listed teams.”
ION will fundamentally shape the community for the future. LRT will be implemented in two stages. The RFP is for Stage 1, which is expected to open in 2017. Stage 1 features a 19 kilometre LRT route from Conestoga Mall in Waterloo to Fairview Park Mall in Kitchener. It also includes a 17 kilometre route of adapted Bus Rapid Transit (aBRT) from Fairview Park Mall to the Ainslie Street Terminal in Cambridge, which is being delivered through a traditional procurement method managed by the Region. The aBRT service is expected to begin operating in late-2014 or early-2015. Stage 2 will convert the aBRT line to LRT, creating a seamless 37 kilometre system for ION with 23 stations between Cambridge and Waterloo.
ION will provide a frequent, reliable and convenient way for residents to travel throughout the community. The Region is focused on identifying investment opportunities that will enhance mobility, create unique, high-quality urban places and strengthen employment opportunities within the community.
All three levels of government have announced funding commitments for Stage 1 of ION.