Final Environmental Report Clears Way for RFP for Proposed Tunnel

The TPA today announced that after taking into consideration the Environmental Assessment Screening Report and comments emanating from public participation in its review of the Environmental Assessment (EA), it has concluded that the proposed pedestrian/services tunnel and perimeter road project is unlikely to cause significant, adverse environmental effects. The final screening report is now available on the TPA website.

The EA, which has been underway for more than a year, is an important part of the tunnel planning process. With this report now in hand and as a result of its analysis, the TPA continues to consider proceeding with the project. The TPA is now issuing the Request for Proposals (RFP) to the three consortia vying to design, build, finance and maintain the proposed tunnel.

The EA found that the proposed pedestrian/services tunnel is unlikely to cause significant, adverse environmental effects. Some minor, localized and short-term construction related effects are expected, and the Report included recommended measures to mitigate these effects. The TPA will ensure that these mitigation measures are implemented, and has included them as requirements in the RFP.

Although not required for the Project, the TPA also provided reports prepared by RWDI, a renowned air quality expert, which considered the air quality and noise impacts of the Billy Bishop Airport operating at its forecast 202-slot capacity. According to the EA, prepared for the TPA by Dillon Consulting: “RWDI concluded that there would not be significant effects on air quality or noise impacts from the Billy Bishop Airport as the aircraft slots are fully utilized.“

As previously announced, the TPA initiated an environmental assessment in February 2010, as required under applicable legislation. The environmental assessment considered not only the construction and operation of the proposed project, but also the cumulative effects of the project related to airline passenger use, local vehicular traffic, and noise and air quality impact, among other factors. After an initial public consultation session held on March 24, 2010, the TPA and the independent environmental assessment consultant Dillon Consulting maintained a public exchange and dialogue process that included making information available on the TPA’s website, obtaining and considering comments and questions, obtaining information from government agencies, and meeting with stakeholders. The 95-page draft environmental assessment screening report was made available for distribution and public review on November 16, 2010. On November 30, 2010, the TPA held a second public meeting to obtain further input on the environmental assessment and the proposed project. A third public meeting was held on January 12, 2011, with January 28, 2011 being the cut-off date for comments about the report.

In August 2010, the Toronto Port Authority issued a Request for Qualification (RFQ) to interested parties to indicate their interest in and qualifications for the proposed Billy Bishop Airport Pedestrian/Services Tunnel Project.

In accordance with the terms of the RFQ, and with the participation of P3 Canada, the TPA shortlisted of three qualified proponents that will be invited to participate in the next, and final stage of the selection process: the Request for Proposal (RFP) stage.

The three consortia invited to bid on the project - Forum Infrastructure Partners, Elite Tunnel Group and City Airport Tunnel Partners - represent a cross section of leading local and international construction and design firms. These teams have been chosen from a group that originally exceeded 50 private sector proponents. “The project has attracted interest from a broad cross-section of well known Canadian, American and European proponents with the right combination of experience and financial capacity to partner with us,” said TPA Chairman Mark McQueen. “The success of the revitalization of Billy Bishop Airport has brought about a delightful challenge – we need to ensure that our infrastructure lives up to the airport’s popularity.”

The consortia have six months to submit proposals to the TPA for its consideration and review.

The public-private partnership (P3) procurement process which the TPA is following, would reduce costs, ensure on-time and on-budget delivery of the project, and enhance the potential for innovations in public infrastructure.

McQueen reiterated that the tunnel would be paid for by passengers who use the popular Billy Bishop Airport. As previously announced, 100 per cent of the cost of design, building, financing and maintaining the tunnel will be ultimately borne by departing passengers via Billy Bishop Airport’s existing $20 Airport Improvement Fee (AIF). For comparison purposes, each passenger at Pearson International Airport currently pays an AIF of $25 per departing flight.

In 2010, approximately 1.2 million passengers used the airport, an almost 50 fold increase in five years. The TPA is expecting more than 1.5 million passengers in 2011.

The TPA’s professional advisors include Dillon Consulting, NORR Architects, Hatch Mott MacDonald, Brookfield Financial, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Gowlings LLP, P3 Canada, Marsh Canada and P1 Consulting.

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Media Contact: Suzanna Birchwood, 416 863 2036/416 317 6405 (mobile)