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Metrolinx requests proposals to build rail spur to airport

The Government of Ontario and two of its agencies — Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario — are requesting proposals from four teams of companies to build the new three-kilometre rail line for the Air Rail Link and a new passenger station at the airport.

The Air Rail Link will provide express rail service between “Canada’s two busiest transportation hubs” — Union Station and Toronto Pearson International Airport — in time for the 2015 PanAmerican / ParapanAmerican Games. Metrolinx expects the service to eliminate 1.2 million car trips in the first year of operating diesel units along the line.

The rail line will branch off from GO Transit’s 31 Georgetown rail corridor east of Malton GO Station, stretch southward on a line roughly parallel to Highway 427 and connect to the airport with a new passenger station at the Terminal 1 parking structure.

According to a media release from Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario, “over the past few months, team from all over the world participated in a rigorous competitive request for qualifications (RFQ) process that reviewed their abilities to design, construct and finance the rail line extension and [Terminal 1] station. From this process, seven teams pre-qualified for the project and the four highest scoring ones have been short-listed to submit proposals.”

The four teams on the short-list:

Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx will evaluate the proposals that the four teams on the short list submit, select the proposal they prefer and then negotiate a final contract. A fairness monitor will over see the entire process will be overseen and Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario will announce the successful team will be announced in early 2012. You can read a copy of the request for proposals here.

Metrolinx will own and operate the Air Rail Link. Infrastructure Ontario is working with Metrolinx to deliver the parts of the project under its “Alternative Financing and Procurement model”, which, it says, “transfers risks associated with designing, constructing, and financing this project to the private sector.”

SNC Lavalin formerly proposed to design, build and operate Blue 22, an earlier version of the express rail link between Union Station and the airport. The Ontario Government announced that Metrolinx would build and operate the line last summer, after SNC Lavalin backed away.