TORONTO – Staff with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) are recommending the agency stick with Bombardier for a new order of streetcars, news that could bring badly-needed hope to the company’s Thunder Bay production line.
Documents released ahead of the TTC’s Oct. 22 meeting show the agency’s board will hear a recommendation to place an order for 13 additional streetcars with Bombardier, a contract that would be worth an estimated $140 million.
The TTC would also seek an option to for an additional 47 cars, pending future funding availability, which would boost the contract’s value to around $500 million.
The streetcars would be identical to those produced in Thunder Bay as part of a 204-vehicle deal made in 2009, and could be delivered as early as the first quarter of 2023, according to the TTC report.
The company would face some one-time costs "to remobilize their production line," the report states. However, that would still allow it to deliver new cars more quickly and at a lower cost than new competitors.
Those advantages led TTC staff to recommend sticking with the company.
Bombardier regularly fell behind on its delivery schedule for the $1.2 billion 2009 order, a situation that eventually prompted the city to sue the company. However, with the last cars in that deal delivered at the end of last year and meeting reliability targets, Toronto Mayor John Tory and other city leaders have expressed renewed confidence in the company.
If approved by the board on Oct. 22, the recommendation is still dependent on matching funding from provincial and federal governments. Toronto’s municipal government has already provided 36 per cent of the funds needed for the order and other recommended capital improvements.