Sole-sourced contract for light rail vehicles upsets rival manufacturer
An artist's rendering of the planned Eglinton Crosstown LRT is pictured in this screen grab. (Handout/Metrolinx)
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, July 5, 2017 2:42PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 5, 2017 2:46PM EDT
Metrolinx’s decision to award a sole-sourced contract for the production of light rail vehicles is drawing criticism from a rival manufacturer.
The provincial transit agency announced in May that it had awarded a $528-million, sole-sourced contract to French manufacturer Alstom for 61 light-rail vehicles.
At the time, Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said that the contract was awarded as part of a contingency plan needed in the event that Bombardier fails to deliver the vehicles required to open the Eglinton Crosstown as scheduled in 2021 and is found to be in default of its contract.
Del Duca said that 17 of the vehicles will be used for the Finch West LRT while the remaining 44 can be used for the Crosstown, if needed, or on the planned Hurontario LRT, if Bombardier is able to meet all of its current obligations.
The contract, however, has since come under fire from German-based manufacturer Siemens.
The company wrote a letter to Del Duca in May, which took issue with the decision.
Portions of that letter, which were provided to the Toronto Star and subsequently confirmed to CP24 on Wednesday, raised questions over whether the province was violating its own policies in awarding a contract without a competitive tender process.
The letter also said that the awarding of the contract “effectively eliminates Siemens from competition for future light-rail car procurement in Ontario, thus causing us irreparable harm.”
“We believe the decision violates the government’s own procurement directive,” Siemens Canada President and CEO Robert Hardt said.
In the letter, Hardt said that Siemens was “extremely disappointed” with the province’s decision and will be “exploring all options available” to it to respond to the decision.
Siemens did not provide its full letter to CP24 on Wednesday but said that it reached out in the hopes of learning more about the procurement process.
“With our long-standing global transport expertise, Siemens has developed mobility solutions that increase availability of infrastructure, optimize throughput and improve passenger experience,” the company said in a statement. “Based on this experience, Siemens can offer competitive solutions for Ontario. We believe that Ontarians are best served by an open market and a transparent procurement process.”
Del Duca has previously said that Alstom was chosen because they are already providing similar vehicles for a LRT line in Ottawa and have done so on schedule without any delays.
Metrolinx previously served Bombardier with a notice of intent to terminate its contract amid concerns with delays in the production of a pilot vehicle but a judge ultimately granted an injunction preventing the transit agency from doing so until the conclusion of a dispute resolution process.