Metrolinx urges Hamilton LRT decision

Ontario transit agency Metrolinx has asked the City of Hamilton to confirm the delivery model for the light rail transit project by January 24.

Chief executive officer Phil Verster has “strongly recommended” the city continues to use the design-build-finance-operate-maintain (DBFOM) model in a letter to Chris Murray, city manager.   

Verster confirmed that if the city decides it is not willing to proceed with this model, Metrolinx is prepared to remove operations from the current procurement and work with the city on the basis that Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) will take on both the commercial and operational obligations, with Metrolinx remaining as the project owner.

Paul Johnson, the city’s director for LRT project coordination, advised the city council that a DBFM model “would increase the complexity of the project”. Johnson also warned there would be a four to five month delay for procurement because a new request for qualification (RFQ) would need to be tendered to ensure an open and fair procurement process.

“There would be immediate and ongoing additional costs to the LRT project under a DBFM model,” he added. 

The correspondence was placed on the agenda for a council meeting on December 1, however this meeting has now been cancelled. 

In August, Hamilton City Council ratified the decision to ask the province for transit projects to be operated ‘publicly’.