Article by Harvey Glickenstein
On 21 June 2019, Keolis launched the ION Light Rail Transit (LRT) system, serving residents and visitors of Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge as well as surrounding rural municipalities.
The system was designed, built, and installed by the GrandLinq Consortium under a public-private partnership (PPP) consisting of Plenary Group Canada, Meridiam Infrastructure Waterloo, Aecon, Kiewit, Mass Electric Construction Canada, Keolis, STV Canada Construction, and AECOM as well as CIBC World Markets, the investment banking subsidiary of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
The PPP is responsible for 10 miles of light rail line operations over the next 10 years and maintenance over the next 30 years. The contract, which was awarded in May 2014, is Keolis’ first light rail operation in North America. The ION LRT is transformative for the Region of Waterloo, the population of which is more than 500,000, making it the fourth-largest community in Ontario.
The network is funded by all three levels of government and fully integrated within the Region of Waterloo’s existing public transport service, Grand River Transit (GRT).