In a much anticipated announcement, the Queensland Government has selected the GoldLinQ Consortium to deliver the landmark Gold Coast Rapid Transit (GCRT) project.
In a $1bn 18 year Public Private Partnership (PPP) contract with the government, GoldLinQ will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the light rail public transportation system.
Consisting of 14 vehicles and 16 stations, Stage One of the GCRT will service a 13km light rail corridor between the new Gold Coast University  Hospital and Broadbeach.
The GoldLinQ Consortium includes:
&bull    KDR2 Gold Cost – operations and maintenance
&bull    Bombardier Transportation Australia – design and supply of the light rail vehicles and rail systems
&bull    McConnell Dowell Constructors (Aust.) – infrastructure and building works and
&bull    Plenary Group – financial arranger and commercial adviser.
The system’s patronage numbers are expected to grow to 50,000 passengers per day . GoldLinQ said it has in-built capacity to cater for up to 75,000 passengers per day.
Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) said the project is of national significance because it is the first time in Australia that all three levels of government – the Queensland and Federal Governments and the Gold Coast City Council – and the private sector have partnered to fund deliver a major transport infrastructure PPP.
“This is the first PPP to emerge from the Infrastructure Australia process and its successful procurement provides a model for future Commonwealth, state and local government cooperation and investment in transport projects,” IPA said.
“With so many long-planned projects across all states sitting waiting for available funding, we hope that the GCRT provides new impetus for the Commonwealth and states to partner with the private sector to make better transport a reality.”
Following completion of roadwork’s later this year, construction will commence in early 2012 on the light rail corridor including road widening, and service re-locations. The track is expected to be laid in the second half of 2012.
Construction labour and subcontractor businesses will be drawn largely from the Gold Coast and surrounding region.
The first passengers will board the GCRT in 2014, with light rail vehicles travelling the route for several months prior as vehicles and systems are tested to ensure operational certainty and safety.
GoldLinQ’s private financing will include full term 18 year debt from international banks (Intesa SanPaulo SpA, Export Development Canada, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya and KfQ IPEX-Bank Gmbh) – an outcome it says will enhance financing cost certainty over the life of the project.
Equity financing will come from Plenary Group, Keolis SA, Aveng Australia, Marubeni Group and International Public Partnerships Limited.