No Announcement From City On $180-Million Deal


Alstom had already won the contract for the rolling stock (shown in the video above) on the new LRT line but now is just announced it was given a 30-year, $180-million deal for light-rail maintenance.

What exactly is the City of Ottawa doing here?

The release in the post below and dated Sept. 1 by Alstom (not the City of Ottawa) says the company has been awarded a $180 million contract from the Rideau Transit Group for maintaining the Confederation Line for 30 years. Alstom is providing the vehicles for the line already (it’s not part of this new contract).

No similar press release was published by the City of Ottawa according to its newsroom on or received by The Bulldog. Is this re-announced money? Doesn’t appear to be. A check of the local media databases shows no $180-million maintenance contract for Alstom.

Curiously, the release below features a quote from Mayor Jim Watson so he obviously knew about the Alstom announcement that was published on a PR newswire by a private company, not through the usual City of Ottawa channels.

So what are the details of the contract? Was the contract sole-sourced? Or is this just Alstom announcing something that was agreed upon some time ago. Is the contract designed to prevent over-runs?

Alstom thinks the deal is important enough to release to a PR newswire. A figure of $180 million is very significant given the fact that the whole City of Ottawa operating deficit is $42 million. It is an interesting comparison in that $180 million is a huge figure for the city.

But the most curious question on this is why didn’t the City of Ottawa not announce such a huge deal through its normal channels?

Given the nature and amount of this contract, why did the city not want the public to know about it? No city hall reporter is likely to be checking PR newswires.

What’s going on here?

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3 thoughts on “No Announcement From City On $180-Million Deal

  1. Next question: why is RTG the one handing out a 30-year maintenance contract for the LRT? This is perhaps why the City isn’t announcing it since they aren’t a party to the contract. This may turn out to be a blessing for the City if there are any screw-ups. Now why does my mind immediately go to the possibility (probability?) of this going off the rails in the future? Call it experience.

  2. The city is in a no win situation. Issue a press release on the Friday before the Labour Day long weekend and be (rightfully) taken to task for trying to avoid negative publicity, or defer issuing a press release until (perhaps)Tuesday, and be roasted for a failure to disclose on a timely basis.

    That segues into the Alstrom press release. Perhaps they issued it to be compliant with public company securities regulations regarding public disclosure of material events.

    1. Ron:

      You just stole my next post lol. I was going to say that the city doesn’t need to release such information because it is a corporation owned by the people of Ottawa and this is a democracy. So why would the city want to be open and transparent? It just reports to the people.

      Alstom has reporting obligations as it is a publicly traded corporation.




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