Saskatoon city councillors OK $3M contract for bus rapid transit design
HDR Corporation of Omaha, Neb., wins out over 4 other companies
Saskatoon city councillors have approved a $3-million contract to an American company to design 36 kilometres of a proposed bus rapid transit (BRT) system.
Councillors unanimously approved the contract to Omaha-Nebraska HDR Corporation on Wednesday. The company beat out four unnamed rivals — including some who were going to partner with Canadian companies — as the city's top choice.
"A few folks … got in touch with me who said, 'Why is this going to an American company?'" Ward 10 Coun. Zach Jeffries during Wednesday's council meeting. "Do we even have the ability to exclude companies from the United States?"
"We do not," replied Lesley Anderson, the city's director of planning and development.
"We don't have the ability to give extra points to local companies. We have to abide by the legislation that's out there," she said of the competitive bidding process.
HDR Corporation was the lowest bidder on the project, she added.
The city has promised to give city councillors the full list of companies that bid for the work.
Half of the design budget is expected to be paid by the federal government through an infrastructure fund.
A 25-per-cent contingency is built into the budget for studying the possibility of removing rail "chokepoints" that would constrain the BRT line.The city expects all of HDR's work to be completed by March 2019.
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