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Canada  

$6.3B light-rail on track

Montreal's new light-rail project connecting the city to its suburbs and its international airport got the green light Thursday, with the line expected to open by 2021.

SNC-Lavalin emerged as the big winner and is part of the two consortiums that will both build the infrastructure and furnish the trains.

"We have been very conscious of the importance of creating a process that had great integrity from beginning to end," Michael Sabia, head of the province's public pension fund manager, told a Montreal news conference. "And through that process, we've achieved the result that we wanted to achieve which is the best quality project at the best possible price."

The light-rail project will now cost $6.3 billion — $300 million more than the original price tag — and is expected to be ready by the summer of 2021, instead of 2020.

The Caisse de depot pension fund, through subsidiary CPDQ Infra, will provide $2.95 billion in financing for the project and will assume the extra costs.

The Quebec and federal governments will chip in $1.28 billion each, while Hydro-Quebec will add $295 million and the regional transit agency an additional $512 million.

Premier Philippe Couillard struck a reassuring tone for Bombardier Transport, based in La Pocatiere, Que., which lost out on the contract.

There will be other contracts in the future, Couillard assured, noting that Montreal's subway system is continuing to expand.

The plan has been slightly changed and it will now include 26 stations, one less than originally planned, along a 67-kilometre automated light rail network.

The construction of the REM (Reseau express metropolitain) will begin in April. 

Sabia announced that a consortium of SNC-Lavalin, Dragados, Aecon, Pomerleau and EBC will be responsible for engineering, procurement and construction, while Alstom and SNC-Lavalin will provide the cars.



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