The city just lost some excuses.
Michelle Stein of Alstom got back to me promptly to answer questions about the $180-million 30-year deal signed with Rideau Transit Maintenance General Partnership for upkeep of Ottawa’s $2.1-billion light-rail project.
The city didn’t announce publicly that the light-rail project had just signed a $180-million deal. City officials can’t say it is re-announced money because the contract, according to Stein, was inked last week. Publicly traded companies have a legal obligation to make their dealings available to investors and shareholders.
So companies such as Alstom must reveal contracts such as this huge one to do maintenance for Ottawa’s LRT. Apparently democracies have no such obligation.
As well the city lost the excuse that it is most efficient to have the company that built the rolling stock for the line do the maintenance for the line. Alstom is building the rolling stock for Ottawa’s LRT at present.
Stein said that sometimes her company does maintenance on other firm’s rolling stock and vice versa. Often Alstom does it’s own maintenance, other times it does not.
So it is common for maintenance contracts to be bid upon, Stein said.
In addition, the city can’t say it didn’t know the announcement was coming from Alstom. Mayor Jim Watson was quoted in the release.
“Ottawa is investing in green and efficient public transportation. As part of this effort, we
are making sure that our modern trains continue to give 100 per cent performance over their
lifetime, representing an attractive means of transportation for our residents and
The tone of the statement is very similar to the Watson quotes that go into almost all self-congratulatory good-news press releases from the City of Ottawa.
Were your agent a cynical man, he might say that the city didn’t want people to know it had signed such a deal with Alstom. The reasons for such a strategy at this point are unknown. News of the deal was released by a company and not sent to the usual media sources that city press releases are distributed. Furthermore the Alstom document, on a private newswire, was sent out just before the Labour Day weekend when the public and the media have other things on their minds … like vacationing.
This is a very novel way for the city to inform the public. We wonder what the municipality has planned for the Thanksgiving long weekend.
The one thing Stein didn’t know was if the enormous Alstom contract was sole-sourced.
To read the Alstom release, click here.
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