In 2021, both Ontario and the Federal Government jointly committed $3.4 billion for the construction of the 14 km Hamilton LRT, to run from Eastgate Square through downtown Hamilton to McMaster University. The project also includes investment in public infrastructure, including roads and utilities through this older part of the City.
Metrolinx has now recommended that this project be contracted using an “alliance model” rather than the traditional Design-Build-Finance-Maintain approach. An alliance contract forces owner and contractor to work together to resolve unanticipated problems, share in any cost escalation and complete the project. This revised approach is likely due to the probable complexities of the Hamilton project (running through old Hamilton) and the poor experience with DBFM projects for the Ottawa LRT Phase 1 and Eglinton Crosstown LRT.
This is the second alliance contract that Metrolinx is engaged in – the first being Union Station revamp which also is a project that likely has many unanticipated changes.
Although the jury is still out, Transport Action Ontario is hopeful that alliances may provide a better model than DBFMs for complex transit projects.