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TTC defends sole-source contract

$400G deal balloons to $20M

By BRYN WEESE

Last Updated: 25th September 2009, 4:29am

A sole-source consulting contract awarded by the TTC and worth $400,000 two years ago has come under fire because it’s now worth $20 million.

The contract dates back to 2007 when the TTC hired URS Canada Inc. to work through the Environmental Assessment process for the Sheppard East LRT Transit City line.

“URS did all sorts of work on the Sheppard subway, including work from Don Mills to the Scarborough Town Centre,” said the TTC’s Brad Ross. “So there’s a company already well ahead of the game, they’re good at what they do, their rates are reasonable, we need to get going on this, so we said, ‘Sole-source it and let’s get it done.’ “

Then in March of this year, the TTC added design components to the URS contract, which increased the cost from $400,000 to about $900,000.

In April, TTC staff again asked the commission to amend the contract for an additional $4.4 million to expand URS’s consulting work.

Yesterday, at the TTC meeting, commissioners again added $14.5 million worth of work to the sole-sourced contract.

The contract amendments, according to Gary Webster, TTC chief general manager, all included the option of extending the contract and the public transit authority’s procurement rules were never broken.

But Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong said an agency of the city would never be allowed to award a sole-source consulting contract worth $20 million.

“This never would have passed muster. They did through the back door what could not and would not have been allowed through the front door,” he said. “You can’t run an operation like the Toronto Transit Commission and use these tricks to award sole-source contracts that start out at $400,000 and end up at $20 million.”




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