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ION - Waterloo Region's Light Rail Transit
#46
(10-16-2014, 06:43 PM)ookpik Wrote: Chuck Howitt of TriTag responds to Shortreed: Don’t ignore the benefits of light rail transit in Waterloo Region 

Quote:John Shortreed's Oct. 14 opinion column talked a great deal about the costs of the Ion, our light rail transit system, but conveniently ignored the benefits. He also failed to account for the expense of not building rapid transit in Waterloo Region, or the potentially staggering costs of cancellation...

I notice that Howitt's editorial didn't answer any of Shortreed's comments about the flawed financial plan (the 1% contingency is the big one for me).  A plan can have all the benefits in the world, and be fantastic for the community, but if short cuts are taken on the financial side, we'll end up paying more for it in the end.
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#47
I find Telegdi's stance unbelievable. I mean Jay Aissa is an unexperienced naif, so no surprises there; but what is Telegdi's excuse?
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#48
(10-17-2014, 02:43 PM)BuildingScout Wrote: I find Telegdi's stance unbelievable... what is Telegdi's excuse?

Beats me. And I've followed him since his UW days and I've voted for him in every election I could--except for this one.
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#49
There are certainly some scary candidates in this election. I am worried that Jay Aissa will be elected as Regional Chair.

I honestly can't believe the negativity towards improving transit infrastructure.
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#50
This map shows a list of public and private investment along the rapid transit corridor, although the information could use an update.

http://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/aboutT...wresv7.pdf
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#51
(10-17-2014, 01:20 PM)nms Wrote: I notice that Howitt's editorial didn't answer any of Shortreed's comments about the flawed financial plan (the 1% contingency is the big one for me).  A plan can have all the benefits in the world, and be fantastic for the community, but if short cuts are taken on the financial side, we'll end up paying more for it in the end.

I am not aware of any shortcuts taken on the financial side, and I don't know what Shortreed was referring to in saying that contingency was reduced from 10% to 1%. The main contract has been awarded, and there is very little that GrandLinq is not expected to cover out of that fixed price.
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#52
A good investment 
Quote:According to the rapid transit implementation options report to regional council from February 2011, the bus rapid transit option would have been $702 million in capital costs. As everybody knows, the light rail transit option has $818 million in capital costs.


In other words, the extra cost for light rail transit is only $116 million, or less than 17 per cent. Yet according to Shortreed's article, light rail transit is a bad investment.

The "savings" in BRT are $116 million, assuming Queen's Park and Ottawa would contribute the same amount as for LRT. But if LRT gets killed there will be about $250 million in cancellation costs. 
Moreover this ignores the ongoing costs of LRT vs. BRT. The labour cost savings in having a single LRT driver vs. multiple bus drivers ought to make that an easy win for LRT.
The anti-LRT group, who claim to take their pro-BRT position out of some sense of fiscal responsibility, to explain their "logic."
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#53
Does anybody have numbers about these labour costs? I agree that it makes sense that labour costs would be the deciding factor here (you need more buses with BRT, and unless these will be magical driverless buses you are then paying salaries) but I do not have numbers to get a sense of whether this is a realistic argument.
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#54
(10-18-2014, 03:05 PM)fakepnijjar Wrote: Does anybody have numbers about these labour costs? I agree that it makes sense that labour costs would be the deciding factor here (you need more buses with BRT, and unless these will be magical driverless buses you are then paying salaries) but I do not have numbers to get a sense of whether this is a realistic argument.

I don't have specific numbers but from what I've read... 

An LRT coach can carry more passengers than a regular bus. But during peak times several LRT coaches can be combined into a single train with a single driver. Yes you can add more buses during peak times but each one needs a dedicated driver.

In addition LRT coaches last about twice as long as buses. Since LRTs are powered by electric motors I'd also expect them to require less maintenance than a fossil-fuel powered bus.

If you want more specific numbers and a more detailed analysis Google is your friend. 
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#55
(10-18-2014, 03:05 PM)fakepnijjar Wrote: Does anybody have numbers about these labour costs? I agree that it makes sense that labour costs would be the deciding factor here (you need more buses with BRT, and unless these will be magical driverless buses you are then paying salaries) but I do not have numbers to get a sense of whether this is a realistic argument.

I've read in several different places that nowadays the biggest cost in public transit are salaries here in Waterloo and in other cities across North America. Buses while expensive are amortized over many years and fuel costs are not that significant.
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#56
Wouldn't a busway require more frequent repairs than rail, too? Seems unlikely that we can get provincial or federal funding for that.
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#57
The LRT cars will last for much longer than buses so their higher costs end up deferred over many more years than a bus fleet. Rubber tires wear out faster and there's still ground level pollution from dozens of buses going up and down King street with a busway, LRT should help local air quality. Rails will probably last longer than a busway, and probably end up similar in costs if rebar and concrete are used.
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#58
Melissa Bruntlett, who reports living in KW between 8 and 23, includes a shout-out to the ION in her piece for Spacing National.

http://spacing.ca/national/2014/10/15/mo...rsed-city/

Quote:Instead of resting on its existing public transportation  a system of buses running every fifteen to thirty minutes on average  the region has approved a massive light rail project that will connect the northernmost area of Waterloo to the southern sections of Kitchener, eventually extending even further southeast to Cambridge. This LRT system will act as a gateway to the local universities, the large tech companies, as well as a link to the VIA Rail station that will also start serving GO Transit Rail, getting commuters to and from the GTA, ultimately easing the immense traffic congestion most residents experience daily. It is a far cry from what I grew up with, and it’s an exciting step forward that sets an excellent example for other suburban cities of what can be achieved outside the urban centres.
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#59
(10-17-2014, 10:37 PM)mpd618 Wrote: I am not aware of any shortcuts taken on the financial side, and I don't know what Shortreed was referring to in saying that contingency was reduced from 10% to 1%. The main contract has been awarded, and there is very little that GrandLinq is not expected to cover out of that fixed price.

I know this Waterloo Chronicle article may be a couple year's out of date, but it lists the project construction contingency at $48 million.  In the report that Council accepted on March 4, 2014, the project construction contingency has been reduced to $10 million (see Table 3), or just over 1% of the project construction cost. Some might argue that the contingency has been reduced because more unknowns have since become known, but I'm skeptical that everything can ever be accounted for.

Variations are covered by Schedule 22, "Variation Procedure" and will keep an army of functionaries busy at both GrandLinq and the Region to determine who will pay for any variations.  For instance, I would wonder how many times GrandLinq (aka Project Co) might find ways to justify getting extra payments under clause 1.2.c, "Project Co will not be entitled to any payment, compensation or extension of time for a Variation except to the extent provided in a Variation Confirmation or Variation Directive in accordance with this Schedule 22." I could see this ending up like trying to get an insurance company to pay an insurance claim: every angle will be applied by GrandLinq to ensure that GrandLinq gets an extra payment.

On related note, anyone who needs a cure for insomnia can read the more than two project agreement dozen schedules here. While I didn't read time all cover to cover, I did find it odd the number of typos that seem to have slipped in. (eg from Schedule 15, "The CN/GEXR freight trains are assigned to use the North Bound LRT Track from Kings Street to Erb Street and the South Bound LRT Track from Erb Street to Northfield Drive. The CN has advised that would like to increase the minimum tangent distance between curves to 30 meters on tracks where their trains will operate.")
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#60
(10-20-2014, 12:50 AM)nms Wrote: I know this Waterloo Chronicle article may be a couple year's out of date, but it lists the project construction contingency at $48 million.  In the report that Council accepted on March 4, 2014, the project construction contingency has been reduced to $10 million (see Table 3), or just over 1% of the project construction cost. Some might argue that the contingency has been reduced because more unknowns have since become known, but I'm skeptical that everything can ever be accounted for.

As far as I can tell, those figures are from 2009 and predate the choice of a public-private partnership to build the system. They would have been based on standard design-bid-build pricing. The Region essentially spent several years putting together a design-build-finance-operate-maintain structure in which the project co takes on a large portion of the risks of the project and which requires them to cover contingencies. That radically changes what makes sense to budget for.

The section of the agreement on variation does not, as far as I understand, speak to contingencies. It covers extra asks by the Region rather than something unexpected that came up in GrandLinq's ability to execute the plan.
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