Posted June 08, 2023
It has been more than two years since the Federal and Ontario governments jointly announced a $3.4 billion funding commitment to build and operate light rail transit (LRT) in Hamilton. Since then, millions of dollars have gone towards expropriating land and demolishing buildings along the route. But Metrolinx, the Ontario crown agency tasked with implementing the LRT project, has not even put out a request for qualifications (RFQ) yet.
An RFQ is the first step toward procuring a large contract like building LRT. It is a process by which potential bidders demonstrate that they are qualified to complete the work they are bidding for. Metrolinx carefully reviews the applicants and then selects a shortlist of qualified bidders who are then invited to participate in a request for proposals (RFP).
The RFP is a competitive bidding process in which qualified participants submit proposals to build the project according to an agreed set of specifications. The bidder with the most competitive proposal is then selected to receive the contract.
Normally the RFQ and RFP process takes around two years to complete. But after more than two years since the LRT funding announcement, the process has not even started yet. To say this is frustrating is an understatement.
Not only has the ground not yet broken on major construction, but the procurement process to get to that groundbreaking is at least a year and probably closer to two years away.
The Ontario government first promised to build the Hamilton LRT in 2007 - 16 years ago. It was originally supposed to be up and running in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games.
We deserve honest answers as to why this is taking so long to get started, and we need a real commitment from the Province to make it a priority.
Locally, Mayor Andrea Horwath and City Council need to start putting pressure on the Province to make building Hamilton LRT a real priority. And the public needs to make their voices heard once again.
No more excuses, no more delays.