AUSTRALIA: Six consortia have expressed interest in the PPP contract to design, build, operate and maintain phase I of the Gold Coast rapid transit project. The 13 km corridor from Griffith University to Broadbeach is due to open in 2014.

The bidders are:

• GCSmartmove comprising Ansaldo STS, SMRT International, Thiess, Mitsui & Co and Royal Bank of Canada;
• GC Connect comprising MTR Corp, John Holland, Itochu Corp and Royal Bank of Scotland Group;
• Move GC comprising Veolia Transport, Alstom, Leighton Contractors and Macquarie Capital Group;
• GoldlinQ comprising Keolis, Downer EDI, Bombardier Transportation, McConnell Dowell Constructors and Plenary Group;
• Kirralink comprising TransdevTSL, Acciona SA, CAF, Mitsubishi Corp, Seymour Whyte and Capella Capital;
• SNC-Lavalin Australia comprising SNC Lavalin, BMD, Thales and Verkehrs Consult Dresden-Berlin GmbH.

The expressions of interest will now be evaluated by the project team. A shortlist of the companies to be invited to prepare detailed bids is expected in May.

According to the project schedule, the request for proposals will be issued in June with a submission deadline of November. The preferred bidder should be announced in March 2011 and financial close is envisaged in May, when the operator franchise will start.

‘The Queensland government is seeking a long-term partner with the right mix of experience, vision and innovation to operate, maintain and construct a modern high-capacity light rail public transport system for Australia’s sixth largest city’, said Queensland Transport Minister Rachel Nolan.