Work to achieve federal environmental assessment approval began in earnest in March 2010. The provincial government had granted its environmental approval in August 2010.
The OLRT project is currently in the Request-for-Proposals (RFP) phase of the procurement process. Three consortia have been shortlisted to compete for the project contract and council is scheduled to ratify the winner in late 2012. Construction of the OLRT project would begin in early 2013.
“This project is the largest, most complex infrastructure project in the City’s history and today we have achieved a very important milestone,” said mayor Jim Watson. “The federal government’s endorsement of our approach is a critical step forward for us as we move towards finishing the RFP and selecting the team that will build this project.”
The OLRT project is predicted to generate over CA$3.2bn (£2bn) in economic activity and 20,000 person-years of employment during construction alone. Once built, the system will carry more than 10,000 people per hour per direction during the morning rush hour and save transit riders approximately 15 minutes from their daily commutes.