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ION - Waterloo Region's Light Rail Transit
#61
(10-17-2014, 09:37 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I know this Waterloo Chronicle article may be a couple year's out of date, but it lists the project construction contingency at $48 million.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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#62
(10-19-2014, 11:50 PM)nms Wrote: I know this Waterloo Chronicle article may be a couple year's out of date, but it lists the project construction contingency at $48 million.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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#63
In the absence of anything else, my guess is that the Variation schedule is exactly where contingencies will be addressed. A contingency is simply the need to change something in the plan due to unforeseen circumstances.

From Schedule 22 from the Region's perspective "If the Region proposes or is obligated pursuant to the terms of this Project Agreement or Applicable Law to initiate a Variation it shall deliver to Project Co a written notice of the proposed Variation." and later, from the Project Co perspective the Project Co can request a variation and must "indicate all reasonably foreseeable implications of the Variation, including whether there are any costs or cost savings to the Region, and whether an adjustment to the Monthly Service Payments is required;"


(Schedule 22 defines a Variation as "variation, addition, reduction, substitution, omission, modification, deletion, removal or other change to the whole or any part of the Project Operations, 
including in relation to the whole or any part of the Design and Construction Works, the Public Infrastructure Works, the Maintenance and Rehabilitation Services or the Operations Services.")


I could see the Applicable Law section being used if there was a need for an environmental clean-up to be addressed.  "Outside the terms of the Project Agreement" could cover anything from unforeseen infrastructure repairs to a regulatory change that might come through during the construction period. For instance, what if the track were planned to have been put across the Margaret Street bridge? In that scenario, someone would have to pay for relaying the track if it had already been in place before the bridge was removed and replaced.
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#64
The Region has issued a response to Jay Aissa and Dave MacDonald's questioning the LRT's numbers:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-...-1.2790359
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#65
I was just about to post this. Smile This quote caught my eye:

JA Wrote:Aissa commented on a line in a regional financial closing document from May 27, which has a line item called 'Project Office and Consulting', at a cost of $51.8 million. He says that is another cost that the region would be able to recoup.

"We're talking about project office and consulting, which is $51 million, did we buy a building for Grandlinq? So I don't know about that one," said Aissa.

I really hope this was a tongue in cheek comment and that JA understands the concept of a project office.
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#66
Honestly I am terrified that Jay Aissa is going to be elected our next regional chair.  I know it has been echoed here many times but it would be an absolute embarrassment and we, as a region, ought to be ashamed of ourselves should that happen.   Say Jay, how is that sale of your property going on Northfield?  
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#67
(10-21-2014, 09:59 AM)Section ThirtyOne Wrote: I was just about to post this. Smile This quote caught my eye:

JA Wrote:Aissa commented on a line in a regional financial closing document from May 27, which has a line item called 'Project Office and Consulting', at a cost of $51.8 million. He says that is another cost that the region would be able to recoup.

"We're talking about project office and consulting, which is $51 million, did we buy a building for Grandlinq? So I don't know about that one," said Aissa.

I really hope this was a tongue in cheek comment and that JA understands the concept of a project office.
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#68
Ironically he will likely get a premium for the location because it is near LRT. Is this the only land he owns in the region? I think part of his opposition stems from the fact that greater intensification (less sprawl) means fewer fences to build and mend.
Everyone move to the back of the bus and we all get home faster.
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#69
Thanks for posting some numbers on BRT vs LRT on the TriTAG site. The argument seems plausible but has a natural rebuttal: that the LRT will never meet the 56000 riders you are projecting (some are questioning whether it will get 25000 riders a day, after all).
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#70
(10-22-2014, 12:01 AM)fakepnijjar Wrote: Thanks for posting some numbers on BRT vs LRT on the TriTAG site. The argument seems plausible but has a natural rebuttal: that the LRT will never meet the 56000 riders you are projecting (some are questioning whether it will get 25000 riders a day, after all).


People can question if the earth is round if they so wish. The 25K riders a day target is, if anything, conservative. People who doubt this projection are either incredibly ignorant (and we have several of those running in this election) or not arguing in good faith, or both.

The 56K target, on the other hand, is a bit more aggressive and reasonable people might disagree whether its achievable or not. Personally I think we will be way over that target by the time 2030 comes around. For one I expect the LRT to be significantly faster as traveling speeds increase over time while traffic on the highway becomes significantly slower.
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#71
(10-21-2014, 10:36 AM)myfaceisonfire Wrote: Honestly I am terrified that Jay Aissa is going to be elected our next regional chair.  I know it has been echoed here many times but it would be an absolute embarrassment and we, as a region, ought to be ashamed of ourselves should that happen.   Say Jay, how is that sale of your property going on Northfield?  

Could he be sued by the new owners if the value drops should his plans to cancel LRT be successful? Insider trading, after all!
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#72
Quote:The 56K target, on the other hand, is a bit more aggressive and reasonable people might disagree whether its achievable or not. Personally I think we will be way over that target by the time 2030 comes around. For one I expect the LRT to be significantly faster as traveling speeds increase over time while traffic on the highway becomes significantly slower.

The 56,000 figure actually assumes year-over-year ridership growth slows down from what it's been over the past decade. My read of demographic shifts (rates of migration to and from the suburbs and the cores) suggests it will only accelerate.
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#73
I am appalled by this column in today's Record and plan to send messages to the Mayoral and Regional candidates I voted for (advance poll) to tell them that I voted for their vision for my City and the Region.  I cringe to think that any successful candidate who has supported LRT might change their position in reaction to the vote results.  Now is the time to stay strong!

http://www.therecord.com/opinion-story/4...ally-here/
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#74
And yet, anecdotally, many voters whom I have spoken to, from new voters (ie 20-25) to older voters ARE treating this election as referendum. the common refrain I have heard is, "They didn't listen to me last time, they didn't listen to me at the public meetings, so I won't vote for any of them this time." For many of them, if there had been a referendum, and they had lost, they would have accepted the result. I hope that the returning incumbents keep that in mind as they work with their new colleagues. What would have been preferable: a direct referendum, or a less-than-desirable Council member who was elected as a protest vote?

For the record, I have also heard from many LRT supporters who while they are in favour of the project, think that the process has been badly handled to date on many levels (Region - voter; Region - City; Region - business). Many people will be watching this project.
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#75
(10-24-2014, 02:28 PM)nms Wrote: What would have been preferable: a direct referendum, or a less-than-desirable Council member who was elected as a protest vote?

There was never a meaningful referendum question to be asked, as The Record pointed out quite well when the issue was at Regional Council.

The kinds of transit referendums that have been useful are strict yes/no questions about new funding streams. E.g. do you support an extra sales tax of 0.5% to support a long-term transit plan (the details of which are decided separately). Once you get into shades of grey, you're mired in decades of decision-making and building nothing. Except more roads and sprawl, which apparently never need a referendum.
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