RAPID Transit Project director Tim Poole (pictured) explains the selection process with GoldLinQ and how it will deliver the city’s $1 billion pioneering light rail system.

The Rapid Transit Project will transform the face of the Gold Coast, which will boast the most modern public transport system in the country.

As such, the importance of the selection process for the proponent of this project cannot be under-emphasised. There have been many news reports about the local social and environmental benefits that will flow from the project work.

What is less talked about is the fact that, for the last 18 months, the Queensland Government and its partners have quietly but efficiently been working on a unique project in a national PPP landscape which has been lacking business confidence.

In mid 2009, the Queensland Government decided the best model for the Gold Coast Rapid Transit project would be as a public private partnership (PPP), after an extensive business case and impact assessment process taking into account the global financial crisis.

It identified that a PPP could provide optimal outcomes, by placing responsibility for all aspects of delivery and operation with one entity, and by increasing the commercial incentives for the private sector to provide a quality integrated transport solution.

GoldLinQ’s selection came after a robust and comprehensive evaluation process that started with the short-listing of three high-quality bids in 2010. It involved the evaluation of more than 150 boxes of documents to determine the bidder best suited to operate this iconic Gold Coast project.

Each company in the consortium has a proven track record in the delivery of rail project across Australia and around the world.

GoldLinQ at a glance

• KDR Gold Coast is the joint venture between Keolis and Downer EDI, which operates and maintains the Melbourne tram system, Yarra Trams. Keolis SA is the world’s largest private-sector operator of light rail vehicles, established in 12 countries on three continents.

• Downer EDI provides comprehensive design engineering, infrastructure and asset management services to the transport, energy and resources sectors, supported by its various specialist divisions.

• Bombardier Transportation Australia is the Australian subsidiary of Bombardier Inc, a world leader in the design, build, operations and maintenance of sustainable rail transport systems. It operates in more than 60 countries on five continents and has supplied more than 2400 light rail vehicles worldwide.

• McConnell Dowell Constructors (Aust) is an established engineering and construction organisation servicing the transport, utilities and social infrastructure industries with design, civil and building capabilities. Operating in more 26 countries across Africa, Australasia and the Pacific region and the Middle East.

• Plenary Group is an independent public private partnership business. The business invests in, develops and operates public infrastructure over the long term. With a team of professionals across Australia, Canada and Singapore, Plenary Group focuses solely on PPPs and plays an active ongoing role in each project.

GoldLinQ will design, build, operate and maintain the light rail system and will oversee station design, bridge construction, vehicle delivery, track laying and the provision of the overhead power supply.

The consortium is ready to hit the ground running and will work with the Government and city to build and operate what will become the spine for a fully integrated public transport network. This includes local buses and the already well patronised heavy rail train services linking the Gold Coast to Brisbane.

GoldLinQ is mobilising its resources and establishing a local office from where it will oversee the system’s construction and operations.

It will soon start detailed design, corridor surveying and geotechnical investigations. These preliminary works will be followed by the start of construction in early 2012.

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