FINANCIAL CLOSE REACHED ON THE WINDSOR-ESSEX PARKWAY

Site preparation and design work to begin within weeks

WINDSOR, ON, Dec. 17 /CNW/ - A major milestone has been achieved ahead of schedule for The Windsor-Essex Parkway. Infrastructure Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) announced that the Windsor Essex Mobility Group (WEMG) has reached financial close and signed a fixed-price contract with the Province. This means that all contractual steps have been completed with WEMG and it plans to start full construction of the Parkway in summer 2011. 

Design and construction of the Parkway will provide a sizeable boost to regional and Ontario economies by directly and indirectly supporting and creating 12,000 project-related jobs, with the majority in the Windsor-Essex region. At the peak of construction activity, WEMG estimates that between 1,200 and 1,300 workers are expected on the construction site daily. 

Upon completion, the 11 kilometre Parkway will ease the movement of goods and people to and from the Windsor-Detroit border, separate local and international traffic, and eliminate stop-and-go traffic in residential areas. With more than 300 acres of green space, 20 kilometres of recreational trails and new community connections, residents in Windsor-Essex will enjoy an improved quality of life.

The Parkway will be delivered using the province's alternative financing and procurement (AFP) delivery model. The AFP model transfers most risks associated with designing, constructing and maintaining the Parkway to WEMG. 

The value of the contract to WEMG is approximately $1.4 billion in today's dollars. Over the 30-year life of the contract, the total future payments will add up to approximately $2.2 billion (nominal).

Annual payments to WEMG cover construction, highway maintenance, lifecycle repair and renewal and project financing. Lifecycle repair and renewal will ensure the Parkway and surrounding 300-acre green space and recreational trails are kept in excellent condition over the 30-year period.

Construction of the Parkway is scheduled to begin in summer 2011 and the Parkway will be open to traffic in fall 2014.  Beginning in January 2011, WEMG will start design work on the Parkway, engineering survey work and soil investigations. As well, it will continue reaching out to local contractors, businesses, unions and educational institutions about opportunities and training and begin to obtain all necessary municipal permits.

The Parkway underwent an open, fair and competitive procurement process and WEMG submitted the proposal that delivered the best value for Ontario taxpayers, including the shortest construction timeline and lowest cost.

The Parkway is a significant economic opportunity for local workers, suppliers, and contractors. Since being named the preferred proponent, WEMG has been meeting with local companies, educational institutions and unions to discuss opportunities for partnerships. WEMG has a labour agreement in place with the Labourer's Union Local 625 and is committed to continuing its efforts to reach agreements with local unions and to use local labour. As well, WEMG and the University of Windsor have signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

WEMG key partners include ACS Infrastructure Canada Inc., Acciona Concessions Canada, and Fluor Canada Limited. WEMG has agreements in place with local companies, including Hatch Mott MacDonald, Amico Infrastructure Inc., Dillon Consulting Ltd., LEA Consulting Ltd, Black & McDonald and AMEC. 

Financing for the Parkway was arranged by RBC Financing. ACS Infrastructure Canada Inc., Acciona Concessions Canada, and Fluor Canada Limited are equal equity partners in the Parkway.   

Infrastructure Ontario will post copies of the project agreement and the value for money (VFM) report online at www.infrastructureontario.ca in the coming months.

The Windsor-Essex Parkway will remain publicly owned and publicly controlled and will not be a toll road.

Infrastructure Ontario is a Crown corporation dedicated to managing some of the province's larger and more complex infrastructure renewal projects - ensuring they are built on time and on budget; as well, it is dedicated to providing the public sector and not-for-profit organizations with long-term financing to renew their infrastructure.

MTO's goal is to be a world leader in moving people and goods safely, efficiently and sustainably, to support a globally competitive economy, a high quality of life and being responsible for all provincial highways.

Quotes:

Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Infrastructure
"The Windsor-Essex Parkway is the most significant, single highway investment in Ontario's history. The Parkway will be designed with green features that reflect respect for its surrounding environment and community."

Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Transportation
"Once the Parkway opens, it will improve the movement of goods and people in our premier trade corridor. While we are very excited about easing the flow of traffic, the fact that the project will be a major catalyst for the Windsor-Essex economy and local job creation is truly appreciated during these difficult economic times."

Dwight Duncan, Member of Provincial Parliament, Windsor-Tecumseh
"The Parkway is an essential part of our government's commitment to renew aging infrastructure across the province. The design and construction of this project will make a difference in the lives of many people in our community by providing well needed jobs and training." 

Sandra Pupatello, Member of Provincial Parliament, Windsor West
"Today is a great day for the people of Windsor-Essex. We are getting a state-of-the-art freeway that will create thousands of jobs and improve the quality of life for thousands of people across the region for many years to come."

Bruce Crozier, Member of Provincial Parliament, Essex
"We're following through on our commitment to Windsor-Essex residents by building a solution now that combines community benefits with transportation benefits in a truly unprecedented and innovative design."

Juan Santamaria, Windsor Essex Mobility Group, Chief Operating Officer
"Our team is thrilled to have reached this very important milestone and look forward to working with our partners and businesses in the community over the next 34 years to design, build and maintain a state-of-the art freeway that will be built not only for today, but for generations to come."

Jim Lyons, Windsor Construction Association, Executive Director
"Many members of the Windsor Construction Association will play an active role on the Parkway during its design and construction. Already several of our members have partnered with the winning team as contractors and suppliers."

Backgrounder

The Windsor Essex Mobility Group partners with local businesses in Windsor-Essex

The Windsor Essex Mobility Group (WEMG) recognizes the importance of partnering with local businesses, professional associations, unions and educational institutions for The Windsor-Essex Parkway. These partnerships will help to strengthen the local economy, create jobs and training, and ensure the success of the project during its design, construction and operation.

Partnerships with local businesses
WEMG has partnered with:

  • Hatch Mott MacDonald, a design firm with a local office in Windsor.
  • Amico Infrastructure Inc., a local excavation and foundation contractor
  • Local consulting engineers, Dillon Consulting Ltd, LEA Consulting Ltd and AMEC
  • Black & McDonald, a local electrical business

Much of the construction and maintenance work will be performed by local labour force and local subcontractors. Full construction of the Parkway will begin in summer 2011. Just before construction begins, WEMG will begin to actively recruit people locally to work on the Parkway. At the peak of construction, WEMG estimates that between 1,200 to 1,300 workers are expected on the Parkway site daily. Design and construction of the Parkway will result in other economic spin-offs. It is estimated that construction of the Parkway will create approximately 12,000 project-related jobs, with the majority in the Windsor-Essex region.  WEMG estimates it will spend hundreds of millions of dollars on local labour, local supplies, and materials over the lifespan of the project.

Other partnerships
In addition to partnering with local businesses, WEMG has an agreement in place with the Labourer's Union Local 625. WEMG is committed to continuing its efforts to reach agreements with other local unions and to employ local labour. Further, WEMG and the University of Windsor have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. It is working towards having a formal agreement in place early in the new year.

Job opportunities
The Parkway will create and sustain many jobs for skilled and experienced construction trades workers such as: operating engineers, labourers, carpenters, electricians, landscapers, equipment operators, and truck drivers. There will be business opportunities for local haulage companies and suppliers (i.e. cement, piping, etc), as well. Other employment opportunities will be available for engineering, accounting, quality control, safety, project control and finance.

For information about employment opportunities related to the Parkway, visit www.weparkway.ca and click on the OPPORTUNITIES tab.

Establishment of local office
The Windsor Essex Mobility Group will establish a local project office in the Windsor area in the second quarter of the new year. Details about the project office will be posted when available at www.weparkway.ca.

Backgrounder

The Windsor Essex Mobility Group Partners

The Windsor Essex Mobility Group's (WEMG) key team members are three of the world's largest and most successful infrastructure developers. Currently, they are working on more than 110 projects in 40 countries, including well-known projects in Canada.

Each of WEMG's team members has proven experience and capabilities in financing, designing, constructing, operating and maintaining some of the world's most complex projects.

WEMG's key team members include:

  • ACS Infrastructure Canada Inc. www.grupoacs.com
    • Since 1994, ACS has ranked the number one transportation developer by industry experts; currently, ACS is ranked as the #2 developer on the Forbes magazine contractor list.
    • North American projects include: A-30 project in Montreal; South Fraser Perimeter Road in Vancouver; the Fredericton-Moncton highway in New Brunswick and the I-595 freeway in Florida.
    • ACS is working on projects valued at $4 billion (U.S.) in North America.
  • Acciona Concessions Canada (Acciona) www.acciona.com; www.acciona-na.com
    • Acciona has been ranked the ninth contractor worldwide by Forbes Magazine.
    • It has a reputation for sustainable development and being socially responsible.
    • Acciona has numerous projects in Canada, including:
      • South East Stoney Trail in Calgary; the Royal Jubilee Patient Care Centre Hospital in Vancouver; Fort St. John Hospital in British Columbia; and A-30 project in Montreal (in partnership with ACS).
  • Fluor Canada Limited (Fluor) www.fluor.com.
    • Fluor was named the best Design-Build firm in North America in 2009 by Engineering News Record.
    • In 2009, it executed more than $1.2 billion of projects.
    • It employs 1,600 staff in Canada.
    • Fluor offers full services in engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance.

Local Partnerships

WEMG's team members have a track record of partnering with local businesses. Already, WEMG has partnered with some of the most reputable companies in the Windsor-Essex region for the Parkway project.  Local partners include but are not limited to: Hatch Mott MacDonald, Amico Infrastructure Inc., Dillon Consulting Ltd., LEA Consulting Ltd, AMEC and Black & McDonald.

The Parkway will create and sustain jobs in the Windsor-Essex region, beginning during the design phase and continuing throughout construction and operation of the Parkway. The local economy will be boosted further through the purchase of supplies and equipment during construction.

Backgrounder

PROJECT COSTS OF THE WINDSOR-ESSEX PARKWAY

The Contract with the Windsor Essex Mobility Group
The Windsor Essex Mobility Group (WEMG) has signed a contract with the Province to design, build, finance and maintain The Windsor-Essex Parkway (the Parkway) and will receive annual payments from the province over a 30 year period. These payments cover:

  • design
  • construction
  • lifecycle repair and renewal (of the Parkway and community features for 30 years)
  • project financing.

The contract with the Windsor Essex Mobility Group is for a fixed price of $1.4 billion in today's dollars, to be delivered by a fixed completion date. The alternative financing and procurement (AFP) model transfers most project risks to WEMG - the private sector. For instance, the contract agreement makes WEMG responsible for increases in costs due to design errors and omissions, project management and sub-contractor co-ordination, increases in construction material prices and labour costs, schedule and project completion delays, and other related constructions risks. In the past, many of these risks were the responsibility of the public sector.

The Province's 30-year maintenance agreement with WEMG will ensure the Parkway will be kept in excellent working condition over the term of the agreement. WEMG is responsible for repair and renewal of the Parkway throughout the contract term. For example, if potholes and pavements need repair or the electrical systems need repair or replacement parts, the private sector is responsible for keeping them in good repair. The public sector has built in a 30-year guarantee for these physical features. 

Annual Payments to WEMG
The Province will invest $1.4 billion, the value to deliver the Parkway today (also known as the net present value). WEMG will receive annual payments from the Province. Over the 30 year life of the contract, the total payments will add up to $2.2 billion (nominal cost). Annual payments to WEMG are performance-based and these can be withheld by the Province if WEMG does not meet the agreed to performance standards, which are based on MTO's performance-standards.

Additional Project Costs
To date, Ontario has invested more than $277 million, including $229 million for property.

The following banks will provide financing for the Parkway during construction: Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, BNP Paribas, Caja Madrid, Banesto, Crédit Agricole CIB, Dexia Crédit Local, ING Capital, Santander, Société Générale, and WestLB AG.

SOURCE Infrastructure Ontario

For further information: For further information:

Paulette den Elzen
Infrastructure Ontario   
416-327-5764
Heather Grondin
Windsor Border Initiatives
Implementation Group
Ministry of Transportation
519-973-7359


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