Bombardier files injunction to stop Metrolinx from terminating contract
Sandie Benitah, CP24.com
Published Friday, February 10, 2017 4:01PM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 10, 2017 8:36PM EST
Bombardier has filed an injunction in response to threats made by Metrolinx to terminate their $770-million contract to build light-rail vehicles in the GTA.
Metrolinx filed a notice of default against Bombardier during the summer of 2016 and then filed a notice of intent to cancel the contract in November 2016, saying at the time that “there have been some concerns about Bombardier’s performance as there have been significant quality and manufacturing issues that, (to date), have not been resolved.”
Anne Marie Aikins, the spokesperson for Metrolinx also said at the time that while the notice of intent didn’t mean they were ripping up the contract, the organization was taking the next steps available to them to seek action.
Bombardier was contracted to deliver 182 light-rail vehicles. The pilot vehicle for the Eglinton Crosstown was supposed to be delivered in Spring 2015 but Metrolinx said that deadline wasn’t met.
On Friday, Bombardier called the threats “unjustified.”
The company said in a news release to media that Bombardier is “fully capable” of delivering trains on schedule.
A test car has been ready to go since October 2016, but Metrolinx has yet to confirm a delivery schedule, the company maintained.
“Unfortunately, Metrolinx’s actions have put the project in jeopardy. Since the contract was signed in 2010, Metrolinx has changed the scope, the timelines, and the technical qualifications countless times,” the news release said. “Furthermore, Metrolinx’s unwillingness to work in good faith to find solutions on behalf of the people of the greater Toronto has been disheartening.”
The company said it is set to meet its commitments in 2018 but the tracks for the Eglinton Crosstown won’t be ready for testing until 2019.
“To help cover for Metrolinx’s significant delays, Bombardier has taken a number of steps including building test tracks at our Kingston facility,” the statement said.
Metrolinx responded to the injunction, by saying Bombardier should focus on meeting schedule deadlines rather than legal action.
“Metrolinx has been concerned for some time about the performance of Bombardier and their ability to deliver a quality product on time as per the scheduled 2021 opening of the Eglinton Crosstown,” the statement said. “We have repeatedly conveyed our disappointment to Bombardier on its progress to date and in particular that the pilot vehicle is almost two years late and has not yet been delivered.”
Metrolinx said they’ve been honest about their concerns with Bombardier.
“We have been frank in sharing our reservations about their ability to deliver vehicles on time and to a level of quality we expect,” they said. “We are further disappointed that they would take this legal step considering the longstanding relationship Metrolinx has with Bombardier on a number of fronts.
“Bombardier’s focus should be on getting the all the vehicles delivered on schedule and with the quality expected, not on legal proceedings of this nature,” the statement continued.
Metrolinx said they won’t comment further until they’ve had a chance to review the application.
The City of Toronto is also at odds with Bombardier over the late delivery of its new streetcars.
Back in 2015, the Toronto Transit Commission also voted to pursue legal action against Bombardier in hopes of recouping a $50-million penalty for late delivery.
In a separate statement Friday, Ontario’s Minister for Transportation Steven Del Duca responded to Bombardier’s move, calling it “unfortunate.”
“My priority is to deliver the transit that the people of the GTHA expect and deserve, and to do so on-time and on-budget,” Del Duca said in the statement. “I expect all of our suppliers to honour their contractual obligations and to perform professionally, and to recognize that there are consequences for failing to do so.
“It has been clear for months that Bombardier has failed to meet its obligations as it relates to other critical transit projects.”
In his statement, Del Duca specifically mentioned ongoing problems with the delivery of the TTC’s new streetcars.
“Metrolinx has been consistently escalating their concerns with Bombardier’s performance, relating to their ability to deliver a test pilot and the number of required vehicles. It’s clear we are not alone in our concerns – the TTC has experienced similar delays and we see the impact they have had, leading to service reductions and overcrowded routes,” Del Duca said.
“It is unfortunate that Bombardier has chosen to take this step. The people of the region deserve more, and our government is committed to delivering it.”