Surrey LRT – Paying More for Less

Modern lawned tramway in France, will be also be used in Liege.

What I wish to illustrate that the 11 km, 21 stop Liege tramway, including 19 Citadis trams, will cost about CAD$51 million/km to build.

As well, P-3′s are not a transit funding panacea.

The $51 million/km to build is based on a very low Canadian dollar and in US currency the cost is about USD$39 million/km to build.

The proposed tramway would be built, as with current European practice, on lawned rights of ways.

By comparison, the proposed Surrey LRT is said to coast a minimum of $80 million/km, built, as per North American practice on cheap tarmac or ballast rights-of-way. This is nothing more than a gold plated transit project, built at a minimum engineering standard at the maximum cost.


Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai?? LiA?ge tram PPP to be retendered

30 Mar 2016

BELGIUM: The Wallonie regional government has announced that its transport agency SociAi??tAi?? RAi??gionale Wallonne du Transport is to re-tender the DBFM concession to build and maintain the planned 11 km LiA?ge light rail line.

In December 2014 SWRT selected the MobiLiA?ge consortium of Alstom, BAM PPP PGGM and DG Infra to finance and build the 12Ai??km line linking Sclessin and Bressoux via the city centre, including a fleet of 19 Citadis 405 trams. The consortium would be responsible for maintaining the infrastructure and rolling stock, although services would be run by regional bus and tram operator TEC.

Work on the project was suspended in March 2015, after the EU statistical office Eurostat objected to the financial structure of the PPP concession. Based on the level of state participation in the DG Infra partnership between GIMV and Belfius, Eurostat ruled that the ai??i??380m (CAD $561 million) financing package should be designated as public funding and counted within the Wallonie budget. However, given the state of its finances the regional government was not willing to countenance this requirement.

According to Minister of Transport & Mobility Carlo Di Antonio, after the financing proposals were rejected by Eurostat for a third time, ai???several scenarios were analysed in terms of timing, legal risks and financial impactai??i??. The regional government remains committed to the tram project, he insisted, but it has to remain neutral in terms of financing.

Wallonie has therefore decided to abandon the DBFM contract and invite new proposals for a restructured concession. This would lengthen the time allowed for construction, and is expected to delay the completion of the line until at least 2022.

The city of LiA?ge has already spent around ai??i??33m (CAD$ 48.7 million)on preparatory works, including engineering design, road remodelling and utilities diversions. SWRT is contractually required to pay an indemnity of ai??i??1Ai??6m (CAD $2.4 million) to MobiLiA?ge for cancelling the award, but it remains to be seen whether the consortium will seek additional compensation for its work on the project over the past year.


4 Responses to “Surrey LRT – Paying More for Less”
  1. Haveacow says:

    As I also said to Daryl, (Skytrain For Surrey Daryl) the increase in cost for Surrey’s LRT project would also apply for its Skytrain equivalent as well and maybe even more.

    As I have also said before, Europe has a structural set up that forces other costs back on to the budgets of the support agencies. For example in North America and areas of the UK, the costs of things like sewer and water main rebuilds and relocations (needed with nearly all modern LRT projects anywhere) are not on the project’s budget but passed on to the support agencies budget, whether they like it or not! In Europe, the cost of the electrical power company’s connection to the new LRT system is not in the project budget, as it is here, but passed on directly to the power company budget and is legally added to next year costs. Lastly, EU projects subsidize concrete and other construction material costs (at taxpayers expense) on projects above a certain size as long as the projects use companies from their preferred list of suppliers. Companies on this list receive a yearly subsidy from both the national and or regional government as well as the EU, if they are part of the suppliers to certain selected public transport projects.

    This has the effect of lowering the relative cost of a project because certain costs are added to other budgets, not the project budget, thus it appears cheaper. Its also quite common that because of the greater market size and certain historic relative costs norms as well as the greater rate of government subsidy nation wide certain costs can be thus these projects appear cheaper. Many of these cost saving measures are considered illegal here because it openly favors certain companies over other ones. The biggest and best funded companies always get the projects and only very rarely, do local smaller companies benefit. Basically companies like SNC Lavlin or other large well connected companies can openly and legally corner the market, on many of the largest rapid transit projects in Europe. The choice is made by a senior government ministers who quietly decide who gets the project, behind the scenes, with little, if any public input. When that happens here people scream charges of favoritism and possible cases of bribery, in Europe, they can legally do it. It maybe cheaper on the surface but I don’t think you would want their system.

    This is how Bombardier, Alstom and Siemens grew to be such big vehicle suppliers in Europe. They win the majority of the vehicle contracts and when a smaller company makes a better vehicle in a certain market niche, and starts winning contracts, the smaller company quickly got bought out, by their much larger competitors. Or the smaller companies just can’t compete and get bought out or broken up by multiple larger companies. For example, Adtranz was carved up by both Alstom and Bombardier and the SIG group of companies and its component suppliers were split between Alstom, Bombardier and Siemens.

    Zwei replies: France has a law that the cost of replacing underground utilities is borne by the owner of the utility, unlike the UK where replacing utilities in the swept path of the new tramway is borne by the tramway, as the Edinburgh consortium found out. An European transit specialist told Zwei that a modern tramway does not need major replacement of the underground utilities, just that cities upload costs on the project. The St. Clair fiasco was in reality a road replacement project which the tram took the brunt of the complaints. Another North American cost are the consultants costs which are based on the cost of the tram project, which again is borne by the taxpayer.

    For too long we have made transit projects, political “vanity” projects, designed more to reward friends of the government, than improve regional transportation.

  2. Haveacow says:

    Don’t get me started about St. Clair I was involved with that drama. What city is that beautiful lawned right of way from? Wow, very pretty or just a really good, well shot photograph.

    Zwei replies: Bourdeaux

  3. Skytrain is cheaper than LRT

    Zwei replies: Sorry I have edited the rest because it is nonsense.

    The problem you have, is that you have created a myth, based on selected data.

    If SkyTrain is cheaper than LRT, why then, no one buys it? That only 7 such systems have been built in 40 years, compared to over 200 LRT systems and not one SkyTrain system has been allowed to compete against LRT for a transit line?

    From the TTC’s 1982 ART Study:

    Thus ICTS (this was the first name given to SkyTrain)costs anything up to TEN times as much as a conventional light-rail line to install, for about the same capacity; or put another way, ICTS costs more than a heavy-rail subway with FOUR times its capacity.

    This was before the modern low-floor modular tram, which increased LRT’s capacity.

    No one buys SkyTrain any more because it is too expensive – get over it.

    And please, do not use Prof. unless you also state what discipline.

  4. zweisystem says:

    This blog is not here to defend light rail and when ill thought out light-metro nonsense is sent as some sort of fact, I have the last decision to print or not.

    SkyTrain is obsolete, made obsolete by LRT, why, it is much more expensive to build, maintain and operate.

    Show me where an apples to apples comparison has been made with SkyTrain and LRT, then maybe I will entertain publishing it.

    There is none because SkyTrain – ICTS, ALRT, ALM, ART has never been allowed to directly compete against light rail. Why? Because it will lose.

    SkyTrain has been on the market for almost 40 years and only 7 have been built, all by secret deals mostly financed by the Canadian government. That does not work in today’s world.

    So get over it and take your hissy-fits to Daryls blog our Skyscraper or what ever.

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