Funding in place for Waterloo light rail project

Financial close has been reached on the first stage of a new light rail line linking the Canadian cities of Waterloo and Kitchener.

The Region of Waterloo has confirmed that the GrandLinq consortium –  which subsists of Plenary Group, Meridiam, Aecon, Kiewit and Keolis – will design, build, operate, maintain and finance stage one of the project.

Work is set to begin on the 19-kilometre line in the second quarter on 2014, ready for its official opening in 2017.

The GrandLinq consortium will operate and maintain the line for 30 years after its completion, a contract that could be worth in the region of $550 million over its lifetime.

According to the Region of Waterloo, “favourable” interest rates mean that original construction cost estimates have fallen by $11.5 million over the course of the 30-year financing period.

Martin Strickland, project director, said: “On behalf of the entire GrandLinq team, we are excited to have reached this important milestone and look forward to working with the Region of Waterloo to deliver on this significant transportation project.”

The ION Stage 1 LRT contract will also require the GrandLinq consortium to operate and maintain the new fleet of light rail vehicles being built by Bombardier.

Although the contract was awarded in March the final short and long-term financing costs were not finalised until last week.