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SNC-Lavalin one of 3 finalists for Edmonton’s west LRT contract

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WATCH ABOVE: SNC-Lavalin, the engineering firm that's been at the centre of political scandal on Parliament Hill, is now a finalist for Edmonton's west leg of the Valley Line LRT. Kent Morrison explains – Jun 6, 2019

You know the name SNC-Lavalin as being the Quebec-based engineering firm that’s been at the centre of political scandal on Parliament Hill.

On Wednesday, the embattled company emerged as a finalist for the City of Edmonton’s most recent LRT project.

Bidding to build the west Valley Line LRT has been narrowed down to three proposals one of them is led by SNC-Lavalin. Three of its divisions have banded together as one bid under the banner  WestLINK Group.

“We don’t see any reason to not allow them to participate,” said Bruce Ferguson, the city’s branch manager for LRT expansion and renewal.

“We’re aware of the situation and the charges that they’re facing, as is everyone else.”

READ MORE: SNC-Lavalin will stand trial on criminal corruption charges, Quebec judge rules

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Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government may still issue a deferred prosecution agreement or SNC-Lavalin could be found guilty, meaning it will be ineligible to win any Canadian-based contracts for 10 years.

Watch below (May 29): SNC-Lavalin ordered to stand trial on fraud, bribery

Click to play video 'SNC-Lavalin ordered to stand trial on fraud, bribery' SNC-Lavalin ordered to stand trial on fraud, bribery
SNC-Lavalin ordered to stand trial on fraud, bribery – May 29, 2019

With all of that uncertainty hanging over the firm’s head, Ferguson said the city considered skipping over the Quebec firm but ultimately didn’t.

“Possibly, but we rated the components that we received against our criteria and then we picked the highest three scoring ones.”

“Obviously, that name caught my eye like anyone else,” said Councillor Andrew Knack. “I’m glad to know that we have a fairness monitor involved in this.”

Knack said a question could arise about the still-to-be-determined prosecution and how the Trudeau government will handle it.

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“As a city we have similar rules… As they develop contracts, they build in measures to ensure that if something were to happen with any company, that they have steps they can take to ensure that we aren’t being caught up in an unfortunate or concerning situation.”

The other two finalists are FlatIron, with AECON as one of the partners, and Urban Mobility Partners, with Graham Capital as part of that consortium.

READ MORE: Edmonton mayor describes meeting with Premier Kenney before throne speech as ‘positive’

All three groups are bidding to design, build, supply light rail vehicles and partially finance the 14-kilometre stretch of LRT to Lewis Estates from downtown.

The full partnership roster of the three final bids are:

Flatiron | AECON | Dragados Valley Line West Joint Venture, with the following team members and guarantors:

  • ACS Infrastructure Canada Inc. (with Dragados Canada Inc.)
  • AECON Concessions (with AECON Infrastructure Management Inc.)
  • HOCHTIEF PPP Solutions North America (with Flatiron Constructors Canada Limited)

Urban Mobility Partners, with the following team members and guarantors:

  • Eurovia Infra (with Carmacks Enterprises Ltd., I&S Mobility May Inc., and Rail Cantech Inc.)
  • Graham Capital Partners LP (with Graham Infrastructure LP)
  • Parsons Inc.

WestLINK Group, with the following team members and guarantors:

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  • SNC-Lavalin Capital Inc. (with SNC-Lavalin Constructions (Pacific) Inc. and SNC-Lavalin Inc.)

The city said in a release: “The teams were selected based on an evaluation of their qualifications, experience and proposed approach to the project.”

Tender packages will go out to the three firms in the next three to four weeks, Ferguson said. The city will work with them over the next seven to eight months, and a contract is expected to be awarded by March 2020, he said.

The builder of the first leg of the Valley Line LRT, TransED, did not submit a bid. This leg of the LRT does not have an operating or maintenance component to it.

READ MORE: Projected cost of Edmonton’s Valley Line West LRT jumps by $440M

A city council decision in March, which changed the design, increased the cost of the project by $440 million. Changes to two intersection crossings meant, compared to the 2011 recommendations, the total cost will increase from $1.8 billion to $2.24 billion.

SNC-Lavalin will stand trial on criminal corruption charges linked to its alleged business activities in Libya under former dictator Moammar Gaddafi.

A Quebec judge ruled on May 29 that prosecutors have enough evidence to sustain a trial of the Montreal engineering giant, which stands accused of fraud and bribing Libyan officials between 2001 and 2011 to get contracts.

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The evidence is under a publication ban.