#EglintonCrosstown #LRT, #Metrolinx, #Bombardier, #JohnJensen, #StevenDelDuca, #JoshMatlow, #injunction
Toronto, May 15 (Canadian-Media): Metrolinx -- an agency created by Government of Ontario to improve the coordination and integration of all modes of transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area -- had taken a major decision last week to enter into contract with Alstom, one of Bombardier's competitors, as an alternative supplier of light rail vehicles to ensure the timely launch of Eglinton Crosstown LRT and to keep other LRT projects on track, media reports said.
“We know for sure that Alstom’s light rail vehicles work. They are currently producing quality vehicles on-time for Ottawa’s Confederation Line LRT project. We are going through a dispute resolution process with Bombardier, but that could take 8-12 months, and we can’t wait that long to determine whether Bombardier will be able to deliver. We are hopeful that Bombardier can get its program on track. However, the steps we are taking give us a safety net if it turns out Bombardier is unable to fulfil its contract", said John Jensen, President & CEO, Metrolinx.
Over the past several months, Bombardier had failed to prove its ability to deliver quality vehicles according to the contract schedule compelling Metrolinx to make a deal with Alstom.
As a result, the transit authority of The Greater Toronto Area (which includes city of Toronto and the adjoining cities) had ordered 61 light-rail vehicles from Alstom Canada, costing approximately $528 million.
Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation, said that 17 of these vehicles will be used for the Finch West LRT and added that if Bombardier is able to deliver their vehicles on time, the 44 remaining vehicles ordered from Alstom will be used for the Hurontario-Main LRT line.
“We believe that this is both a creative and prudent approach to dealing with the less-than-ideal situation that none of us relishes being in,” Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca told reporters at a press conference in Toronto Friday morning.
According to a news release Del Duca stated, "This is a sensible, responsible, and creative plan. If Bombardier is…able to deliver quality vehicles on time for the Eglinton Crosstown's completion, Metrolinx will be able to use the Alstom vehicles for other projects, including the Hurontario LRT. If Bombardier is found to be in default, Alstom's vehicles would be used on the Crosstown and an additional order would be placed with Alstom for Hurontario. This plan puts people in Ontario first -- both as commuters and as taxpayers. This isn't about who gets the job done; it's about getting the job done. As the Minister of Transportation, that will continue to be my priority."
Bombardier had scored a procedural victory against the Bombardier in April when a judge ruled that Metrolinx cannot cancel a $770-million contract and implied both parties to go through a dispute resolution process.
But The transit authority announced that Metrolinx was already in discussions with an alternate supplier by the time the injunction was approved.
Citing the delayed delivery of a test pilot vehicle, Del Duca had stated, "That dispute resolution process could take up to one year, and if Bombardier continues to fall even further behind during this process, it could mean that our transit projects will be further delayed…It has been clear for months that Bombardier has failed to meet its obligations as it relates to other critical transit projects."
Coun. Josh Matlow, whose ward contains a large section of the LRT route applauded Metrolinx's move of entering into contract with Alstom.
"If Metrolinx is taking proactive and prudent measures to ensure their deadline for the LRT to be running... then I think that's something that's a smart move on their part," he told CBC Toronto.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)