The recent news of the payments being made to Rideau Transit Group to the sum of $4.9 million when there remains issues with service did not sit well with many of my council colleagues or me. Council questioned the issue at its Feb.12 meeting.
On Feb. 14, General Manager of Transportation Services, John Manconi clarified that these payments were for the month of August 2019, payments made one month in arrears.
For me, the issue spans beyond current payments for a failing system – it reaches the $4.6 Billion LRT Phase 2 project – how are we assured that this next phase of our City’s transit system will be built accordingly?
Adding to the concerns are issues circling the procurement process for the winning bidder, for the North-South segment, the Trillium line’s $1.6 Billion contract was handed to TransitNEXT. In recent news, it came to light the winning bid came with a lot of unknowns – snow removal, a reference of the wrong type of trains, and didn’t include signalling or a train control system – aren’t these are all critical pieces to building a train system?
Responding to this failure, at Council on January 29, I submitted an inquiry sheet, also asking how the City resolved specific technical deficiencies documented in the evaluation of the proponent’s proposal.
Council and residents of this City and City Councillor must get the appropriate answers in a timely matter for effective decision-making.
On February 12, Council unanimously voted in favour of the release of Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Trillium Line Project procurement documents. This request includes technical compliance scores, technical evaluations and the specific bid amendments made to the contract to ensure that Council’s criteria for the project are met.
The motion requested that Council and the public receive this information as soon as possible and in advance of the March 3, 2020 Finance and Economic Development Committee meeting;
In addition, we have asked that an independent consultant be engaged to undertake a ‘Lessons Learned’ exercise on the Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Project Procurement Process.
We have also directed staff to incorporate a review of the City’s Public-Private Partnership Policy, in addition to the City’s Purchasing rules and the Delegation of Authority processes, as part of City Council’s Mid-Term Governance Review process.
My hope is this unanimous vote from Council will correct and clear up the Phase 2 contract and process unknowns. And also bring better governance oversight for future request for proposal contracts as it relates to Council’s oversight and information.