The cabinet has decided to kiss off Bombardier, the no-can-do Quebec manufacturer and buy new LRT trains from the French firm, Alstom. The deal requires Alstom to build a manufacturing plant in the GTA. At a news conference Friday morning at Laird Drive and Eglinton Ave. the transportation minister announced the purchase of 61 vehicles. The deal is worth about $528 million and was issued on a sole sourced basis. Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency for the GTA, is permitted to issue sole source contracts under certain emergency conditions, Steven Del Duca said. They will be used to service LRT systems being built outside Toronto but if necessary, they will run on the Eglinton Crosstown route.
With confidence in the capacity of Bombardier to build trains on time (or at all) down to zero, the move is not surprising. Bombardier is under contract to produce cars for the $5.3-billion LRT project but the order has been delayed. Del Duca said the ongoing dispute resolution process with Bombardier could take up to a year, which would risk delaying the Crosstown opening. He said that if the dispute process finds Bombardier breached its contract, the purchase will be cancelled. If the dispute finds no breach, the cars will be delivered, although it seems foolish to predict when. On a different contract, the Quebec firm has said it will deliver much-delayed streetcars to the TTC by a new deadline of 2019 but chair Josh Colle has said he will believe it when he sees it.