Councillors earmark $15M more for legal fight with RTG

·1 min read
An LRT train near Pimisi station just west of downtown Ottawa in February 2021. Ongoing service issues with the Confederation Line led the city to withhold millions in payments and thus, to a legal dispute with RTG. (Hugo Belanger/Radio-Canada - image credit)
An LRT train near Pimisi station just west of downtown Ottawa in February 2021. Ongoing service issues with the Confederation Line led the city to withhold millions in payments and thus, to a legal dispute with RTG. (Hugo Belanger/Radio-Canada - image credit)

An Ottawa city council committee approved spending an additional $15 million on lawyers and technical experts to fight Rideau Transit Group (RTG) after a behind-closed-doors update on the ongoing legal battles with the contractors that built the Confederation Line.

A late-night finance and economic development meeting began Tuesday with a 90-minute in camera session where councillors heard the city requires "ongoing legal and subject matter technical expertise support."

The city is withholding tens of millions of dollars in payments to RTG and its maintenance arm, including $59 million from the final payment in 2019, due to the 456-day delay in handing the LRT system over to the city.

Since the Confederation Line launched in September 2019, the city has only paid RTG part of what the consortium — led by SNC-Lavalin and ACS Infrastructure — has billed due to poor or missed service.

The legal battle over the money appears not to be over and it's not known how much the city has spent so far.

Although there is still $9.4 million remaining in the city's contingency fund for Stage 1, "these project contingency funds have been fully expended due to the nature of [the] City's claims disputes with RTG," according to the motion to add that additional $15 million.

Although the money will come out of the transit capital reserve fund, the motion states the city plans to "attempt to recover these costs in the dispute resolution process against RTG."