Council approves GrandLinq for ION Stage 1 LRT

Posted on Wednesday March 19, 2014

WATERLOO REGION – Regional Council approved GrandLinq as the preferred team to design, build, finance, operate and maintain (DBFOM) ION Stage 1 light rail transit (LRT) on Wednesday. The approval marks yet another major milestone in the implementation of ION, the Region’s rapid transit service.

The approval follows a comprehensive evaluation of the proposals submitted from the three short-listed teams in the running to build LRT between Kitchener and Waterloo.

“This is a great day for the Region,” said Councillor Jim Wideman, Chair of the Planning and Works Committee. “Council and staff have worked hard to get to this stage and we’re now one giant step closer to starting construction this summer. We’re also delighted to partner with GrandLinq and look forward to working closely with them to deliver ION on-time and on-budget.”

Highlights of the proposal include:

  • The capital cost of the GrandLinq proposal is consistent with the capital cost estimate, and can be accommodated within the ION project capital budget of $818 million.
  • Projected operating, maintenance, lifecycle and financing costs can all be accommodated within the Region’s approved funding strategy.
  • Based on the GrandLinq proposal, the rapid transit project remains on-time, on budget and the costs remain affordable based on the Region’s approved funding strategy.

The final Project Agreement with GrandLinq is expected to be signed by early May, with ION Stage 1 LRT construction set to begin shortly thereafter.

All three levels of government have announced funding commitments for Stage 1 ION, including $300 million from the Province, one-third of the eligible costs up to $265 million from the Federal government and $253 million from the Region.

ION will provide a frequent, reliable and convenient way for residents to travel throughout the Region. With 200,000 new residents expected to move to the Region of Waterloo in the next 20 years, ION will also shape the community by encouraging development in existing urban areas, limiting urban sprawl and protecting the region’s farmland by preserving the environment.

The service will be implemented in two stages. Stage 1 is a 36-kilometre corridor that includes 19 kilometres of LRT from Conestoga Mall in Waterloo to Fairview Park Mall in Kitchener and 17 kilometres of adapted Bus Rapid Transit (aBRT) from Fairview Park Mall to the Ainslie Street Terminal in Cambridge. Stage 2 will see the aBRT route converted to LRT, creating a 37 kilometre route of LRT across the three urban centres.

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For more information please contact:

Kimberly Moser, Manager, Rapid Transit Community Relations, Phone: 519-575-4757, ext. 3461 

Cell: 519-501-6266,


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