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Light rail: Shortlist announced to deliver first stage of Capital Metro

By Canfan - 18 March 2015 171

Two world-leading consortia have been shortlisted to deliver the first-stage of Canberra’s light rail network, which will deliver more than 3,500 jobs during construction and deliver more than $1 billion in benefits to the ACT economy, Minister for Capital Metro Simon Corbell announced today.

The two consortia, ACTivate and Canberra Metro, contain some of the world’s biggest and most respected companies when it comes to delivering major infrastructure projects and operating successful public transport networks. 

The successful consortia will now progress through to the request for proposals stage before a successful bidder is selected in early 2016 with construction to commence later that year. 

“Following a strong industry response from local, national and international companies and detailed evaluation of the four expressions of interest, I am pleased to announce ACTivate and Canberra Metro have been shortlisted,” Mr Corbell said.

“The makeup of each consortium is reflective of the high level of interest and strong market appetite for the project. The strength of the four consortia to express interest in Capital Metro stage one is reflected by the obvious high quality of the two consortia that have been selected for the RFP stage.

“To have two consortia with such a high level of experience in international and national transport projects competing to deliver this transformative infrastructure project is a fantastic result for the ACT.

“The expression of interest stage required consortia to demonstrate their capability in meeting five core criteria. They were evaluated on their experience in successfully delivering comparable projects, ability to manage safety issues, demonstrated understanding of commercial and risk management matters, financial capacity as well as meeting and understanding the aspirations of the project.”

Some of the major projects and public transport systems built, managed and operated by the companies involved in the two shortlisted consortia include:

  • Gold Coast light rail
  • Coast to Coast light rail, Adelaide
  • Yarra Trams, Melbourne
  • Dijon light rail, France
  • Bordeaux light rail, France
  • Inner West Light Rail Extension, Sydney
  • Waterloo Stage 1, Canada
  • Eskisehir, Turkey
  • North West Rail Link
  • Sydney Light Rail Inner West Extension
  • Stockholm Light Rail
  • Tram Heilbronn
  • Glenfield to Leppington Rail Link
  • TrackStar Alliance
  • Regional Rail Packages
  • Metro Tram Melbourne
  • London Overground Rail Operations Ltd (LOROL)

Capital Metro is the second major infrastructure project in the ACT to be delivered by a public private partnership.  It will deliver a modern, world-class public transport system that will help prevent a projected  57-minute average commute by car between City and Gungahlin in 2031.

 “By delivering this project through a public private partnership model, we can capitalise on the skills and knowledge of the private sector to deliver a world class light rail system befitting one of the world’s most liveable cities,” Mr Corbell said.

“Capital Metro stage one will support over 3,500 jobs during construction. These jobs will create new opportunities for local businesses and significant economic benefit for the whole of Canberra.”

Capital Metro has a local industry policy to encourage Canberra region companies to become involved in the project and the ACT Government will arrange information sessions between local businesses and both consortia in coming months.

The RFP will be issued to the shortlisted respondents in April 2015. The selection of a successful bidder to design, construct, operate, maintain and finance the light rail service from the City to Gungahlin will occur in 2016, with construction to commence later that year.

(Simon Corbell media release)

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171 Responses to
Light rail: Shortlist announced to deliver first stage of Capital Metro
dungfungus 11:40 am 19 Mar 15

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

dungfungus said :

rommeldog56 said :

switch said :

dungfungus said :

What happens if they also bail out?

The ACT government will go ahead and build it on their own?

Of course they would – despite the fact that the Fed’s Infrastructure Australia knocked back the ACT Gov’t request for a funding contribution to the Canberra Light Rail because the business case (or what laughingly passed for one) didn’t stack up. Despite that, the ACT Gov’t pursued a public private partnership solution to build it instead. Same business case though. This is it :

http://www.capitalmetro.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/655650/Capital-Metro-Business-Case-In-Full.pdf

I have never seen a report with so many uses of the words “assumption” and “potential”.
There is also a lot of blue sky in the images.

From section 4.4 ‘Options analysis’, subsection 4.4.1 ‘Strategic solutions analysis and recommended strategic solution’:

“…this business case does not re-consider the already determined strategic solution or possible alternatives, such as bus rapid transit.”

They should have incorporated a “forward-looking” disclaimer like this:
“This Business Case may contain statements that constitute forward-looking. These forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology, such as the words “expects”, “projects”, “plans”, “believes”, “intends”, “anticipates”, “estimates”, “stabilised”, “underwritten”, “vision”, “may”, “could”, “pro forma”, “budget”, “financial model” and analogous. Any such statements are inherently subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected and the actual outcome to differ materially from that expected. Such risks and uncertainties include, amongst others, general economic and business conditions, competition, changes in political, social and economic conditions, regulatory initiatives and compliance with governmental regulations, and various other events, conditions and circumstances (including acts of god, war and terrorism). No assurance is given by Capital Metro Agency in relation to any such statements. Capital Metro Agency expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to publicly release any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained herein to reflect any change in expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.”

watto23 11:38 am 19 Mar 15

rommeldog56 said :

This is going to happen – so we had better get used to it – and vote accordingly at the 2016 ACT election.

What I don’t understand is why will people vote against this any more in 2016, than they did in 2012, when it was a Labor policy. See this is the difference between the federal liberals, who didn’t share their policies before the federal election and the ACT election, where the light rail and “triple the rates” was well and truly part of the election debate.

I can’t see a swing towards the liberals, they are really despised in Canberra right now because of the stupidity of the federal liberals. It shouldn’t play a part in voting but it will and does in every state and territory election. ACT libs hopes improve if a federal election is called by early 2016 and a change of governments occur. I certainly don’t think the light rail is a vote changer for many, especially when its was 50-50 for labor with light rail and triple rates at the last election.

Hopefully this site does a good coverage of candidates like it has in the past.

Maya123 10:59 am 19 Mar 15

I used the Vancouver train recently. I also used the light rail in Seattle. That was great, being able to catch that daily into the city during my stay there. It’s so successful they are now extending it.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 10:48 am 19 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

rommeldog56 said :

switch said :

dungfungus said :

What happens if they also bail out?

The ACT government will go ahead and build it on their own?

Of course they would – despite the fact that the Fed’s Infrastructure Australia knocked back the ACT Gov’t request for a funding contribution to the Canberra Light Rail because the business case (or what laughingly passed for one) didn’t stack up. Despite that, the ACT Gov’t pursued a public private partnership solution to build it instead. Same business case though. This is it :

http://www.capitalmetro.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/655650/Capital-Metro-Business-Case-In-Full.pdf

I have never seen a report with so many uses of the words “assumption” and “potential”.
There is also a lot of blue sky in the images.

From section 4.4 ‘Options analysis’, subsection 4.4.1 ‘Strategic solutions analysis and recommended strategic solution’:

“…this business case does not re-consider the already determined strategic solution or possible alternatives, such as bus rapid transit.”

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 10:45 am 19 Mar 15

gasman said :

One thing that has never been mentioned is that we as a community are paying a phenomenal amount for keeping our cars. At the present time, it is almost essential to have a car in Canberra because we have such a poor public transport system.

This is absolutely true, and a very good reason why we should be doing some serious research and analysis into multiple options and means for improving public transport in the ACT.

Building a light rail line that goes between two satellite centres without serious consideration of other options is gross dereliction of the ACT government’s duty to the ACT public, in my opinion.

gasman 10:28 am 19 Mar 15

There seems to be a lot of opposition to the building of a light rail system in the ACT, and much of the criticism is based on the cost, born largely by tax and rate-payers.

One thing that has never been mentioned is that we as a community are paying a phenomenal amount for keeping our cars. At the present time, it is almost essential to have a car in Canberra because we have such a poor public transport system.

The ACT has 229,000 registered passenger vehicles (source: ABS, 2014). This does not include trucks, busses, commercial vehicles. A large percentage of this 229,000 is privately owned.

It costs over $10,000 per year to run a medium sized car (source: NRMA and RACQ Vehicle Running Costs 2014). This cost is larger than most people realise, and is based on purchase price depreciated over car lifetime, interest, full, rego, insurance, service/repairs/tyres. Annual running costs vary from about $6500 for a micro sized car to $16,000 for a large expensive car.

As a community (ACT only), we are paying about $2 billion per year, every year, to keep our cars.

In addition, we spend about $180 million per year on roads each year.

This money that we already pay dwarfs the amount that a light rail system would cost. Even if the cost of the light rail blows out the $1 billion, thats a one-off cost spread out over the build time of the system (maybe 5 years). Once built, the rail system becomes much less of a cost and would have a working life of decades.

Imagine if we as a community built a comprehensive public transport system, coupled with bike paths that connect, and de-centralised work places so we don’t all have to travel into the city. We could ditch half our cars, and save $1 billion dollars per year. We would save even more dollars with less expenditure on roads.

What could we do with an extra $1 billion per year? We could employ thousands of nurses, an extra hospital or 2 each year, eliminate hospital waiting times, house every homeless person, fix our schools and pay for more teachers, or just go on an overseas holiday.

I live in Vancouver for 2 years, and they had just opened a new branch of their Skytrain system – a much more ambitious elevated rail system that Vancouver has been building, extending for 20 years. The day after it opened, road traffic on that route dropped by half. Its fast, reliable, clean, driverless, safe. It runs every 5 minutes during peak hour and every 10 at other times. It is by far the quickest way into the city in Vancouver, and is loved and well-used by all walks of life in Vancouver.

Lets move into the 21st Century, Canberra!

dungfungus 9:07 am 19 Mar 15

rommeldog56 said :

switch said :

dungfungus said :

What happens if they also bail out?

The ACT government will go ahead and build it on their own?

Of course they would – despite the fact that the Fed’s Infrastructure Australia knocked back the ACT Gov’t request for a funding contribution to the Canberra Light Rail because the business case (or what laughingly passed for one) didn’t stack up. Despite that, the ACT Gov’t pursued a public private partnership solution to build it instead. Same business case though. This is it :

http://www.capitalmetro.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/655650/Capital-Metro-Business-Case-In-Full.pdf

I have never seen a report with so many uses of the words “assumption” and “potential”.
There is also a lot of blue sky in the images.

dungfungus 8:39 am 19 Mar 15

Great article here from Washington DC (another country’s capital city) about the folly of their proposed tram service.
http://www.washingtonblade.com/2015/03/05/time-pull-plug-trolley-folly/
I love that terminology “transit hipsters”.
There are uncanny parallels with the Canberra project.
I wonder if…..?
No, Andrew Barr hasn’t been to Washington DC lately, has he?

dungfungus 7:45 am 19 Mar 15

vintage123 said :

I would be very surprised if any consortium would “pull out”, this project is a licence to print money. Imagine now knowing you only have one competitor left prior to the RFP stage of solicitation, from the commercial side this would have an in house code named “money train”.

Recent failures of PPPs in Australia have not been a licence to print money and massive amounts of investors’ money (including money from superannuation funds) have been lost.
The main reason for the failures with the Brisbane road tunnels has been that the initial daily user numbers were grossly underestimated and instead of building more business, the numbers fell away.
I doubt very much that there will be private investors willing to get involved with the ACT’s tram plan. This was pointed out by industry experts in 2012 but the government has ignored that advice (at our peril).
The completed tram project will lose less money if it is left idle.

dungfungus 7:31 am 19 Mar 15

switch said :

dungfungus said :

What happens if they also bail out?

The ACT government will go ahead and build it on their own?

Why not?
They have sacked Comcare and are going to set up and run their own workers’ compensation, they had previously run their own finance company (Rhodium Asset Solutions) and run their own communications company (through Actew).
They also underwrite superannuation for the public service.
They also have a lot of other commercial ventures.
None of these make any money and the massive losses incurred through their stewardship of ACTION buses qualifies them perfectly to run a tram service in direct competition to ACTION.

rommeldog56 12:00 am 19 Mar 15

switch said :

dungfungus said :

What happens if they also bail out?

The ACT government will go ahead and build it on their own?

Of course they would – despite the fact that the Fed’s Infrastructure Australia knocked back the ACT Gov’t request for a funding contribution to the Canberra Light Rail because the business case (or what laughingly passed for one) didn’t stack up. Despite that, the ACT Gov’t pursued a public private partnership solution to build it instead. Same business case though. This is it :

http://www.capitalmetro.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/655650/Capital-Metro-Business-Case-In-Full.pdf

vintage123 8:40 pm 18 Mar 15

I would be very surprised if any consortium would “pull out”, this project is a licence to print money. Imagine now knowing you only have one competitor left prior to the RFP stage of solicitation, from the commercial side this would have an in house code named “money train”.

switch 7:46 pm 18 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

What happens if they also bail out?

The ACT government will go ahead and build it on their own?

rommeldog56 6:21 pm 18 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

“The expression of interest stage required consortia to demonstrate their capability in meeting five core criteria”
Nothing about probity mentioned but there are only two “contenders” left.
What happens if they also bail out?

The other bidders didn’t bail out – they would have been shortlisted out.

There is no way that the other 2 will “bail out” . Why would they ? Under a public private partnership (PPP) they are sort of guaranteed a return on their outlay by the ACT Government – courtesy of ACT Ratepayers.

Their ROI on their outlay would have to be significant enough to cover risk, dividend to investors, interest on loans + be a better ROI than they can get on other investments elsewhere.

However, the ACT Gov’t determination to contract fort this before the next Lesgslative Assembly election in late 2016 guarantees that the remaining 2 bidders will not bail out. Besides, the ACT Gov’t has the apparently bottomless financial pit of their fees, charges, GST based revenue, Annual Rates paid by ratepayers and savings from winding back municiple services & re-ordering their fiscal priorities, in order to meet the pa cost of this and other PPPs – no matter what the cost.

This is going to happen – so we had better get used to it – and vote accordingly at the 2016 ACT election.

dungfungus 5:36 pm 18 Mar 15

“The expression of interest stage required consortia to demonstrate their capability in meeting five core criteria”
Nothing about probity mentioned but there are only two “contenders” left.
What happens if they also bail out?

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