The deadline for private companies and consortiums to submit their bid to design, build, and operate the Surrey Newton-Guildford (SNG) LRT Line has been extended over the possibility the project could be cancelled.
TransLink issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) in early-September for entities to express their interest in the project, and the deadline for submissions was originally set for October 31.
At the time of the launch of the RFQ process, senior project planners said there was significant international interest to participate in the bidding process.
However, the deadline has now been extended closer to the end of the year amid the uncertainty over the project’s future, with the new Surrey City Council pushing for SkyTrain.
Mayor-elect Doug McCallum, Safe Surrey Coalition city councillors, and the mayors of Vancouver and both Langleys want to see the project’s resources transferred to completing a SkyTrain extension along the Fraser Highway from King George Station to Langley Centre.
“Given the City of Surrey’s indication that they plan to begin a discussion with the new Mayors’ Council regarding rapid transit in Surrey, we’ve extended the RFQ deadline until December 19,” said TransLink spokesperson Jill Drews in an email to Daily Hive.
“This has been done at the request of proponents to allow for more time to receive clarity from the Mayors’ Council on policy direction.”
The public transit authority’s RFQ process will identify qualified entities, with three respondents invited to participate in the request for proposals phase.
In addition to detailed design and construction work, the successful group will be responsible for operating and maintaining the SNG LRT for the line’s first seven years under a public-private partnership.
There will likely be some more clarity on the future of the controversial project after the inaugural Surrey City Council meeting on November 5 and the inaugural Mayors’ Council meeting on November 15.
Some regional mayors have already publicly expressed their opposition to changing course on the project, including the mayors of Richmond, New Westminster, and Coquitlam.
The 11-km-long SNG LRT is projected to cost $1.65 billion and attract 42,000-46,000 boardings per day in 2024, 51,000-55,000 boardings per day in 2030, and 71,000-77,000 riders per day in 2045. It will be about two minutes faster than the corridor’s existing 96 B-Line service, which saw an average of 15,000 boardings per day last year.
According to preliminary estimates, SkyTrain on the Fraser Highway is expected to cost $2.9 billion, although without a 25% contingency fund the project cost is about $2.1 billion. It will take 22 minutes to travel the 16-km-long system, which includes eight new stations beyond King George Station.