ION Stage 1 light rail

Waterloo Region finalises agreement with GrandLinq for ION Stage 1 LRT

Published 11 May 2014

WATERLOO, ONTARIO – The Region of Waterloo and GrandLinq have finalized an agreement to design, build, finance, operate and maintain ION Stage 1 light rail transit (LRT) between Kitchener and Waterloo.

As a result of the current favourable interest rate environment, construction financing costs are $2.5 million lower than reported in March, and the 30-year financing costs have dropped by $11.5 million. 

“We completed all of the necessary steps over the course of this week resulting in another big milestone, Financial Close, which we achieved today,” said Jim Wideman, Regional Councillor and Chair of the Planning and Works Committee.

“This continues to demonstrate our commitment to delivering ION on-time and on-budget.” 

Although the GrandLinq bid was received back in December and the contract awarded in March, the final short and long-term financing costs were not finalized until Tuesday. 

"This is terrific news,” said Tom Galloway, Regional Councillor and Chair of the Administration and Finance Committee.

“It will bring down both the capital and long-term financing costs. We are pleased to take advantage of these historically low interest rates locked in for 30 years.”

GrandLinq, made up of leading international organizations such as Plenary Group, Meridiam, Aecon, Kiewit and Keolis, with Aecom as the lead designer, was approved by Council after a comprehensive evaluation of the proposals submitted from three short-listed teams.

The agreement remains within the approved funding for operations and maintenance. 

“On behalf of the entire GrandLinq team, we are excited to have reached this important milestone and look forward to working with the Region of Waterloo to deliver on this significant transportation project,” said Martin Strickland, Project Director. 

“We have been working closely with GrandLinq over the past few months to finalize details and are very satisfied with the final agreement,” said Sean Strickland, Chair of the Community Services Committee.

“We are looking forward to a successful partnership with GrandLinq that will deliver the first stage of Waterloo Region’s light rail transit system.” 

In the agreement, the Region of Waterloo will own the ION LRT system, including all infrastructure and vehicles; set fares and the frequency of the service; be responsible for customer service and system-wide integration; collect all fare revenue, and monitor the performance of GrandLinq to ensure all service requirements are met. 

GrandLinq will take ION Stage 1 LRT to final design, build ION Stage 1 LRT (including related public works), and operate and maintain the system (including the Bombardier Flexity vehicles), all consistent with the Region’s performance requirements. 

An event to introduce GrandLinq to Waterloo Region has been scheduled.

Event details include: 

When: Thursday, May 29, 2014, 8 - 9.30am

What: Welcome and introduction of GrandLinq to Waterloo Region

Who: Members of Regional Council and GrandLinq representatives.

Further details including location of this event will be announced closer to the date.