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Montreal Bargains for Better Price on Light Metro Project

Montreal’s new light metro system is set to connect the city center with Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, above. (Photo by Abdallahh)

Our weekly “New Starts” roundup of new and newsworthy transportation projects and ideas worldwide.

Montreal Buys Time to Get Price Tag Right on Light Metro Project
Did the company in charge of building Montreal’s new light metro system underestimate how much the project would run?

The Caisse du dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) isn’t saying. But CBC Montreal reports that its subsidiary CDPQ Infra, which is in charge of the C$5.5 billion ($4.33 billion U.S.) project, has announced that it won’t reveal which of the two consortia that have bid on the work will get it until next February.

The announcement was expected this past month. Instead, the CDPQ announced Dec. 1 that it will “launch a period of sustained discussions” with the two groups that qualified to submit bids.

CDPQ chief spokesperson Maxime Chagnon said that the talks were more a “question of balance, and therefore value for money. For a project of this magnitude, taking a few more weeks to get better value for money is something quite normal.”

CDPQ says it will accept offers from the two qualified bidders until the end of January and announce the winner in February.

The 67-km (41.6-mile) network is the largest public transit project in the Greater Montreal area. Its lines will extend from the center of the city to the North Shore, the South Shore, the West Island and Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport . Work is slated to start in 2018, and the project remains on track for a 2020 opening. CDPQ will put up $3 billion ($2.36 billion U.S.) of the project’s cost, with the rest coming from Ottawa and Quebec.

Work Officially Begins on Another LA Metro Gold Line Extension
The Associated Press reports (via the San Francisco Chronicle) that Los Angeles County officials officially broke ground Dec. 2 on the latest extension of the LA Metro Gold Line.

LA Metro Gold Line (Photo by Tim Adams)

The new 12.3-mile extension will take the light-rail line eastward from Asuza in the eastern San Gabriel Valley to Montclair in western San Bernardino County.

The extension will have six stations. The project cost is $1.5 billion.

Global Rail News reports that preparatory work will be performed while the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority identifies a design/build partner for the extension. Actual heavy construction won’t start until 2020, with the line projected to open in 2026.

World Bank Affiliate Bankrolls Tram Extension in Turkey
Turkey’s Hürriyet Daily News reports that the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, will provide the resort city of Antalya with 140 million euros ($165.9 million U.S.) to build an 18-km (11.2-mile), 29-station extension of its light-rail network.

Antalya currently has 30 km (18.6 miles) of tramways. The extension will take the network to the northern suburbs of Varsak and Muse. The extension is projected to carry 25 million passengers annually.

Eighty million euros ($94.8 million U.S.) of the funding is a loan from the IFC’s own account, while the remaining 60 million euros ($71.1 million U.S.) comes from a fund it manages that allows institutional investors to participate passively in IFC programs.

With 3.2 million residents, Antalya is Turkey’s fifth-largest city and its leading tourist destination, receiving 30 percent of all visitors to the country.

“Fast-expanding cities like Antalya are driving economic growth across the developing world,” Wiebke Schloemer, IFC’s regional industry head of infrastructure in Europe, Middle East and North Africa, told Hürriyet.

“For them to keep growing, they need to continue to beef up urban infrastructure in a cost-effective and eco-friendly way. And that’s exactly what public transit does,” he added.

Know of a project that should be featured in this column? Send a Tweet with links to @MarketStEl using the hashtag #newstarts.