Transport Scotland has begun the tendering process for the £230M Borders railway project as a 30 year design build, finance and maintain PFI deal.
The Scottish Government had ruled that all forms of PFI were outlawed north of the border.
However, the notice for the construction has been submitted for publication in the Official Journal of European Union (OJEU) as a private finance scheme. The design, build, finance and maintenance (DBFM) project includes seven stations and associated road infrastructure between Newcraighall in Midlothian to Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders.
It will be procured by way of a DBFM contract and the railway and station infrastructure will be integrated into Great Britain’s national rail network. The DBFM contract will include civil engineering, building works, permanent way, telecommunication & signalling systems, utility diversions and road works. It is the intention of Transport Scotland that the concession period will be for approximately 30 years from the commencement of timetabled passenger train services and include the operation of signalling & telecommunication systems and the maintenance of all station infrastructure.
Minister for transport Stewart Stevenson said: “The Scottish Government has made clear its commitment to this key part of our programme of investment - we are now delivering on that commitment.
“A fast, efficient rail link connecting communities from the Scottish Borders to Midlothian and Edinburgh will act as a catalyst for economic growth right across southern Scotland, supporting hundreds of jobs during its construction. And a new link will increase business development and housing opportunities, and help promote inward investment.
“I will be stating Scotland’s case on climate change at Copenhagen next week and a rail link through the Scottish Borders to Edinburgh will also help us meet our commitments to the environment. The link will contribute to Scotland’s reduction in carbon emissions whilst providing opportunities to make the switch from car to train. This will help tackle congestion along the A7 and A68, in turn reducing the number of road accidents on those routes.
“We’re determined to deliver this project for people throughout Midlothian and the Scottish Borders and I’m delighted that we’re on track to open up those regions to rail passengers again for the first time in over forty years.”
All the required land has been acquired to allow construction of the railway. Accelerated funding was made available last year to allow advanced works to be completed early to reduce the level of risk in the main works contract. It is anticipated that the construction contract will be awarded in Autumn 2011.
Transport Scotland is looking for three tenderers to take part in competitive dialogue with requests for information needed by 19 February. Requests to participate must then be made by 3 March.
A market day has been arranged for 20 January during which Transport Scotland will present the project, the arrangements for competitive dialogue and discuss any queries and requests for clarification that an economic operator may have. An invitation to this market day can be obtained from the contracting authority by request only.
Transport Scotland has also confirmed it has approached the European Investment Bank (EIB) to determine whether the project is eligible for EIB funding. This dialogue is ongoing and participants will be updated once the EIB has confirmed its support for the project.