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Home  »  News  »  Competitor criticizes region for LRT contract decision
Competitor criticizes region for LRT contract decision
The Record - 7/10/2012

Paige Desmond, The Record, June 28, 2012

Link to story.

WATERLOO REGION — Regional council’s decision to forgo a traditional selection process for the purchase of light rail trains isn’t being received well by Siemens Canada.

Marco Jungbeker, vice president in the mobility division for Siemens Canada, said Wednesday the region was not being transparent.

“This process has not been transparent, the process is a non-competitive procurement and a closed process,” Jungbeker said during his presentation at a regional council meeting. “This does not serve the best interest of the Waterloo Region LRT project.”

The region anticipates it will spend $56 million to purchase 14 trains from Bombardier.

Jungbeker urged council to reconsider that decision, saying Siemens would establish a manufacturing facility in the region to provide the trains at a lower cost and provide local jobs.

However, councillors voted unanimously to continue with plans to procure trains from Bombardier. Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig, North Dumfries Mayor Rob Deutchsmann, both regional councillors, and Chair Ken Seiling could not vote due to declared conflicts of interest regarding the project. Coun. Todd Cowan was absent.

Coun. Jim Wideman said the process has not been closed. “That’s not how Waterloo Region does business,” he said.

On June 19 councillors voted to piggyback on an existing contract that the Crown corporation Metrolinx negotiated with Bombardier instead of putting out a request for proposals.

The Metrolinx procurement process was reviewed and approved by the province.

The region has committed to reach an agreement with an outside firm to design, build, finance, operate and maintain (DBFOM) the local rapid transit system.

Part of the justification for that model was to increase savings and reduce risk. But during selection of a general engineering consultant, Wideman said it was suggested the region could save money by removing parts of the contract.

Jungbeker said Siemens had been in discussions with the region as recently as a couple months ago. He said he had never heard of a DBFOM in the world where the vehicles were purchased separately.

“I’m not just speaking for Siemens,” Jungbeker said. “I’m talking about the whole industry.

“This is something the region will experience for the first time. That’s a risk for the region.”

Thomas Schmidt, the region’s transportation commissioner, disagreed.

“I would disagree with us taking more risk on,” Schmidt said.

Choosing Bombardier would satisfy Canadian content policies and save the region time and money, according to a staff report.

The region’s $818-million light rail project is being funded jointly by the region allotting $253 million, the federal government paying $265 million and the province committing up to $300 million.

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