Hamilton's LRT will remain in public hands, says ministry official

News Jul 06, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

An Ontario government official says Hamilton’s light-rail transit system will still remain public once a third-party agency is selected to operate and maintain the service.

Bob Nichols, senior media officer for the Transportation Ministry, stated in an email that Hamilton’s LRT service will “remain publicly-owned” when the third-party agency is operating the $1-billion transit project.

“The consortium will operate it on our behalf,” stated Nichols.

He said the agency selected to design and build the LRT project will also be responsible for operating and maintaining the service. Nichols said the usual contract time frame is about 30 years.

“This approach transfers risk to the consortium and provides a strong incentive for high quality design and construction since the same people building the project will be responsible and accountable for operating and maintaining it after it is completed.

Metrolinx issued a request for qualification stage of the procurement process that closed in late June. The request for proposals will be issued in the summer and is expected to close in late fall. The winning company will be announced next spring 2018.

Movement is growing in Hamilton for Metrolinx to select an agency that will keep the city’s LRT system public. Their preferred option would see Hamilton Street Railway operate the LRT service.

Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Green has a notice of motion, which could be introduced as a motion at the August general issues committee meeting, to keep Hamilton’s LRT operation and maintenance agreement public.

“I also believe strongly that the HSR should be given the opportunity to operate and maintain Hamilton’s LRT system,” he stated in a news release.

He wants the proposed maintenance and operating agreement between the city and Metrolinx to include a provision to allow HSR to operate and maintain the LRT system.

He stated Metrolinx is accepting bids for the project from companies that can supply all components of the LRT system, including finance, build and operate, but HSR does not design or build transit systems, so it is shut out of the process.

In a letter to Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca, Hamilton Centre NDP MPP and party leader Andrea Horwath urged the minister to allow HSR to submit a bid on the project.

“The Hamilton Street Railway should operate and maintain the LRT line (and) not a private contractor who is not accountable to the public,” stated Horwath.

She stated that if HSR doesn’t operate the service it could mean job losses and “inferior service.”

Horwath said when pressure was initiated against the ministry to allow the Toronto Transit Commission to operate the Eglinton-Crosstown LRT being built, government officials eventually agreed to the request.

Nichols stated that there are a “number of transit lines” in the region that are operated by third parties, including the GO Rail network, York Region Transit, and the York VIVA Bus Rapid Transit project.

He said the Waterloo LRT and Hurontario LRT will also be operated by third parties.

The GO Rail network is operated by Bombardier Transportation, while York Transit Region is partially operated by TOK transit, a subsidiary of the Tokmakjian Group. The Waterloo LRT will be operated by GroundLinq a consortium, while Hurontario LRT has three consortiums short-listed to operate the system: Trillium Transit Partners, Mobilinx and Hurontario Light Rail Connection Partners.

In addition, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 107 has called on Hamilton to “assert its preference” for HSR to operate the LRT.

It recently unveiled a website, www.keeptransitpublic.ca, with a petition that has more than 470 names as of July 6.

The petition calls on Metrolinx to remove the requirement that any agency needs to operate and maintain the LRT system in its bid.

The union says Eric Tuck, president of Local 107, will be conducting an awareness campaign throughout the summer.

“It makes no sense to lose local control to an international consortium of huge companies who know nothing about Hamilton,” said Tuck.

Ontario Transportation Ministry official says Hamilton LRT will remain in public hands

News Jul 06, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

An Ontario government official says Hamilton’s light-rail transit system will still remain public once a third-party agency is selected to operate and maintain the service.

Bob Nichols, senior media officer for the Transportation Ministry, stated in an email that Hamilton’s LRT service will “remain publicly-owned” when the third-party agency is operating the $1-billion transit project.

“The consortium will operate it on our behalf,” stated Nichols.

He said the agency selected to design and build the LRT project will also be responsible for operating and maintaining the service. Nichols said the usual contract time frame is about 30 years.

“This approach transfers risk to the consortium and provides a strong incentive for high quality design and construction since the same people building the project will be responsible and accountable for operating and maintaining it after it is completed.

Metrolinx issued a request for qualification stage of the procurement process that closed in late June. The request for proposals will be issued in the summer and is expected to close in late fall. The winning company will be announced next spring 2018.

Movement is growing in Hamilton for Metrolinx to select an agency that will keep the city’s LRT system public. Their preferred option would see Hamilton Street Railway operate the LRT service.

Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Green has a notice of motion, which could be introduced as a motion at the August general issues committee meeting, to keep Hamilton’s LRT operation and maintenance agreement public.

“I also believe strongly that the HSR should be given the opportunity to operate and maintain Hamilton’s LRT system,” he stated in a news release.

He wants the proposed maintenance and operating agreement between the city and Metrolinx to include a provision to allow HSR to operate and maintain the LRT system.

He stated Metrolinx is accepting bids for the project from companies that can supply all components of the LRT system, including finance, build and operate, but HSR does not design or build transit systems, so it is shut out of the process.

In a letter to Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca, Hamilton Centre NDP MPP and party leader Andrea Horwath urged the minister to allow HSR to submit a bid on the project.

“The Hamilton Street Railway should operate and maintain the LRT line (and) not a private contractor who is not accountable to the public,” stated Horwath.

She stated that if HSR doesn’t operate the service it could mean job losses and “inferior service.”

Horwath said when pressure was initiated against the ministry to allow the Toronto Transit Commission to operate the Eglinton-Crosstown LRT being built, government officials eventually agreed to the request.

Nichols stated that there are a “number of transit lines” in the region that are operated by third parties, including the GO Rail network, York Region Transit, and the York VIVA Bus Rapid Transit project.

He said the Waterloo LRT and Hurontario LRT will also be operated by third parties.

The GO Rail network is operated by Bombardier Transportation, while York Transit Region is partially operated by TOK transit, a subsidiary of the Tokmakjian Group. The Waterloo LRT will be operated by GroundLinq a consortium, while Hurontario LRT has three consortiums short-listed to operate the system: Trillium Transit Partners, Mobilinx and Hurontario Light Rail Connection Partners.

In addition, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 107 has called on Hamilton to “assert its preference” for HSR to operate the LRT.

It recently unveiled a website, www.keeptransitpublic.ca, with a petition that has more than 470 names as of July 6.

The petition calls on Metrolinx to remove the requirement that any agency needs to operate and maintain the LRT system in its bid.

The union says Eric Tuck, president of Local 107, will be conducting an awareness campaign throughout the summer.

“It makes no sense to lose local control to an international consortium of huge companies who know nothing about Hamilton,” said Tuck.

Ontario Transportation Ministry official says Hamilton LRT will remain in public hands

News Jul 06, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

An Ontario government official says Hamilton’s light-rail transit system will still remain public once a third-party agency is selected to operate and maintain the service.

Bob Nichols, senior media officer for the Transportation Ministry, stated in an email that Hamilton’s LRT service will “remain publicly-owned” when the third-party agency is operating the $1-billion transit project.

“The consortium will operate it on our behalf,” stated Nichols.

He said the agency selected to design and build the LRT project will also be responsible for operating and maintaining the service. Nichols said the usual contract time frame is about 30 years.

“This approach transfers risk to the consortium and provides a strong incentive for high quality design and construction since the same people building the project will be responsible and accountable for operating and maintaining it after it is completed.

Metrolinx issued a request for qualification stage of the procurement process that closed in late June. The request for proposals will be issued in the summer and is expected to close in late fall. The winning company will be announced next spring 2018.

Movement is growing in Hamilton for Metrolinx to select an agency that will keep the city’s LRT system public. Their preferred option would see Hamilton Street Railway operate the LRT service.

Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Green has a notice of motion, which could be introduced as a motion at the August general issues committee meeting, to keep Hamilton’s LRT operation and maintenance agreement public.

“I also believe strongly that the HSR should be given the opportunity to operate and maintain Hamilton’s LRT system,” he stated in a news release.

He wants the proposed maintenance and operating agreement between the city and Metrolinx to include a provision to allow HSR to operate and maintain the LRT system.

He stated Metrolinx is accepting bids for the project from companies that can supply all components of the LRT system, including finance, build and operate, but HSR does not design or build transit systems, so it is shut out of the process.

In a letter to Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca, Hamilton Centre NDP MPP and party leader Andrea Horwath urged the minister to allow HSR to submit a bid on the project.

“The Hamilton Street Railway should operate and maintain the LRT line (and) not a private contractor who is not accountable to the public,” stated Horwath.

She stated that if HSR doesn’t operate the service it could mean job losses and “inferior service.”

Horwath said when pressure was initiated against the ministry to allow the Toronto Transit Commission to operate the Eglinton-Crosstown LRT being built, government officials eventually agreed to the request.

Nichols stated that there are a “number of transit lines” in the region that are operated by third parties, including the GO Rail network, York Region Transit, and the York VIVA Bus Rapid Transit project.

He said the Waterloo LRT and Hurontario LRT will also be operated by third parties.

The GO Rail network is operated by Bombardier Transportation, while York Transit Region is partially operated by TOK transit, a subsidiary of the Tokmakjian Group. The Waterloo LRT will be operated by GroundLinq a consortium, while Hurontario LRT has three consortiums short-listed to operate the system: Trillium Transit Partners, Mobilinx and Hurontario Light Rail Connection Partners.

In addition, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 107 has called on Hamilton to “assert its preference” for HSR to operate the LRT.

It recently unveiled a website, www.keeptransitpublic.ca, with a petition that has more than 470 names as of July 6.

The petition calls on Metrolinx to remove the requirement that any agency needs to operate and maintain the LRT system in its bid.

The union says Eric Tuck, president of Local 107, will be conducting an awareness campaign throughout the summer.

“It makes no sense to lose local control to an international consortium of huge companies who know nothing about Hamilton,” said Tuck.