Transit Briefs: Metrolinx, SCVTA, TriMet

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Artist’s rendering showing an aerial view of Ontario Line’s Exhibition Station on Toronto’s west side. (Image Courtesy of Metrolinx)

Artist’s rendering showing an aerial view of Ontario Line’s Exhibition Station on Toronto’s west side. (Image Courtesy of Metrolinx)

Canada’s Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx have awarded a fixed-price contract to Ontario Transit Group for the Ontario Line Southern Civil, Stations and Tunnel (South Civil) package. Also, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (SCVTA) in California is beginning work on two long-range transportation plans; and Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) is eying a fare increase in January 2024.

Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx on Nov. 9 reported awarding Ontario Transit Group a C$6 billion South Civil contract for the 9.7-mile (15.6-kilometer) Ontario Line, a planned Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) rapid transit line linking the Ontario Science Center and Exhibition/Ontario Place.

The standalone Ontario Line, half of which will be underground, will include 15 stations and more than 40 connections to other transit routes, including GO Transit lines, existing TTC subway and streetcar lines, the under-construction Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit, and bus services (see map below).

Ontario Transit Group, which in September was selected as the preferred proponent team, will design, build and finance the South Civil package. C$5.5 billion will go toward capital costs and C$5 million will go toward financing and transaction costs.

The Ontario Transit Group comprises applicant lead Ferrovial Construction Canada Inc. and VINCI Construction Grands Projects; design team of AECOM Canada Ltd., COWI North America Ltd., GHD Limited, and SENER Group; construction team of Ferrovial Construction Canada Inc. and Janin Atlas Inc.; and financial advisor Agentis Capital.

The scope of work includes:

  • A 3.7-mile (6-kilometer) tunnel and associated tunneling works from Exhibition to Don Yard portal (west of the Don River).
  • Groundworks required to build the tunnels and stations; utility and conduit works to prepare for the Rolling Stock, Systems, Operations and Maintenance (RSSOM) mechanical and electrical systems; and guideway structures and facilities to prepare for the track structure to be installed by the RSSOM contractor (the preferred proponent team, Connect 6ix, was announced in September).
  • • Stations: One above-ground station to be integrated with the existing GO Transit Exhibition Station; two underground stations to be integrated with the existing TTC Osgoode and Queen subway stations; and four new underground stations (King/Bathurst, Queen/Spadina, Moss Park, Corktown).

“The project underwent an open, fair and competitive procurement process overseen by a third-party fairness monitor,” Infrastructure Canada and Metrolinx said. “Ontario Transit Group submitted the proposal that delivers the best value for Ontario taxpayers. The project is being delivered through IO’s Public-Private Partnership (P3) model, which transfers appropriate risks associated with design, construction and financing of the project to the private sector.”

Major works are expected to commence in early 2023, with the project to be completed in 2030.

The C$10.9 billion Ontario Line project is being delivered via various contracts, procured through P3 and traditional procurement models.

(Photograph Courtesy of SCVTA)

SCVTA is beginning work on the Visionary Network plan “to develop a framework for future transit service plans that addresses the public’s shifting post-pandemic needs,” and the Valley Transportation Plan 2050 (VTP 2050), which “serves to create a policy and planning framework for all modes of travel, including highways, roadways, transit, bicycles, and pedestrians.”

Visionary Network, SCVTA said, will define how transit service in Santa Clara County should look over the next 30 years, including street corridors it should serve in the future, how often buses and trains should arrive, how early and late-night service should run, and what bus stops and stations should look like and provide. Initial visioning and plan development are now under way, with a draft project list to be developed in spring 2023, a final project list to be completed in summer 2023, and a draft plan to be developed in fall 2023.

The Valley Transportation Plan 2050 is also in the initial visioning and plan development stage. A draft project list will be developed in spring 2023, a final project list will be completed in summer 2023, and a draft plan will developed in fall 2023.

SCVTA will hold various virtual and in-person events to discuss the planning process and the future of transportation in the country throughout the winter and into early next year.

(Photograph Courtesy of TriMet)

TriMet on Nov. 9 reported that its Board of Directors has asked the staff to formalize a fare increase proposal that, if approved, would take effect Jan. 1, 2024.

“At a Board retreat on Nov. 9, 2022, several Board members cited the need for TriMet to increase fare revenue and overall revenue to provide financial stability for transit operations, as well as address the inflationary increases in the cost of operating the transit system,” TriMet said. “With a majority of the Board voicing support for a 2024 fare increase, Board President Linda Simmons directed TriMet staff to move forward on the process to bring a formal fare increase ordinance before the Board.” The first reading of the ordinance is slated to occur at the Board’s April 26, 2023 meeting, with a second reading and vote at its May 24, 2023 meeting.

TriMet said the Board directed staff to further develop a package of fare changes for its consideration, that include the following increases:

  • Adult 2 ½ hour ticket—increase 30 cents to $2.80.
  • Honored Citizen 2 ½ hour ticket—increase 15 cents to $1.40.
  • Youth 2 ½ hour ticket—increase 15 cents to $1.40.
  • LIFT paratransit single ride—increase 30 cents to $2.80.

TriMet said it will conduct a Title VI fare-equity analysis “to determine what impacts a fare increase would have on people of color and those who live on a low income,” and will work with the community to determine opportunities to mitigate such impacts.

A public outreach and engagement campaign will launch next month to inform and educate riders, employees and community members about the proposed fare increase, according to TriMet.

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