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An artist's rendering shows Cyrville Station, one stop on Ottawa's proposed light rail transit line. ((Ottawa Light Rail))

The City of Ottawa has announced the three finalists vying for the $2.1 billion light rail system contract.

VINCI Concessions, ACS Infrastructure Canada and Bouygues Travaux Publics will all submit proposals by July 2012. The construction is projected to start sometime in 2013.

VINCI dubs itself Europe’s largest operator of transport infrastructure concessions such as light rail systems, roadways and bridges. ACS is an international group based in Spain, but it is its Canadian subsidiary in charge of the Ottawa light rail bid.

Bouygues Travaux is a France-based corporation that advertises its specialty in underground works, complex civil engineering projects and engineering structures.

Councillor says bidding competition very timely

Coun. Diane Deans, who also heads the city's transit commission, said the project comes during tenuous economic times throughout both Europe and the United States.

As a result, she said these companies are taking the contract seriously.

"Europe isn't building this kind of project right now with their economies and the state of chaos that they're in, and neither is most big cities in the U.S.," said Deans.

"In some ways I think our timing is really good because they're going to sharpen their pencils and they're going to, I think, bring in competitive bids because that's what they're going to have to do to win."

Siemens, a multinational company based in Germany, was not one of the finalists after making its interest in bidding public in early July. The company had previously won nearly $37 million from the city after the old light rail contract, held by Siemens, was cancelled.

The winning bid will oversee the design, financing, building and maintenance of the Ottawa's new light rail system, which the city hopes to have complete by Canada's 150th birthday celebrations in 2017.