Transit garage update: Three finalists on short list for Barrie’s first major PPP project

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BCA Annual Report staff writer

Three finalists are competing to design, build, operate and finance Barrie’s new transit garage, the city’s first major public-private partnership (PPP) project.

Seven organizations submitted proposals at the initial stage, and three finalists have qualified to submit detailed proposals by a September deadline.

They are: Keolis Canada Inc., MVT Canadian Bus Inc. and Veolia Transportation.

Other initial bidders that failed to qualify include: First Student Canada, Miller Paving Ltd, Nekison Engineering & Contractors Ltd. and Tokmakjian Inc.

A Barrie procurement official said the city will decide who will win the work by the end of the year.  The city spent $5.3 million to purchase the site at 133 Welham Rd. in 2008, and allocated an additional approximately $1 million for initial design work.

The project’s scale, scope and financial model (the PPP partner is expected to fund the construction of the facility and then operate it for upwards of 20 years) precludes most BCA members from bidding directly for the work, but several members could qualify as subcontractors or suppliers to the successful builder-operator.

In 2011, the federal government announced it will contribute up to $5.8 million for the project through the P3 Canada Fund.  A government news release said the “City of Barrie will contribute up to $17.7 million towards the balance of the capital costs.

“Once selected, the private sector proponent will design, build and finance the construction of the transit facility in addition to the operation and maintenance of the city’s bus fleet,” the government announcement said.

Other published reports put the federal funding contribution at $4.3 million, and say the overall project would cost $20.46 million, though the municipal procurement official says the exact dollar value is still uncertain, as the finalist bidders have yet to submit their proposals.  Funding reportedly will come from development charges, the P3 Canada grant, and borrowing, for which the financing will be he successful bidder’s responsibility.

The city will continue to own the site, and the selected contractor will be reimbursed with performance-based compensation and penalties, including on-time service, customer satisfaction and vehicle safety.