PLATTSBURGH — Nova Bus has been awarded a $194.4 million contract for 414 buses for New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority.
The buses will be manufactured at the company’s facility on Banker Road in the Town of Plattsburgh, where about 200 people are employed.
The Transit Authority Board of Directors approved the purchase at its meeting Wednesday morning.
Jim Tooley, head of industrial strategy at the Plattsburgh plant, welcomed the board’s decision.
“It’s really delightful news to receive at this time of year,” he said, adding that the two sides have to follow up with some administrative steps before an order to proceed is issued.
The award is part of a 690-bus order, with the remaining buses to be built by Winnipeg-based New Flyer. The awards include an option for up to 700 additional buses.
Nova Bus is scheduled to deliver four 40-foot Low Floor pilot buses for testing in October 2014.
Delivery of production buses is scheduled to start in March 2015 and end in February 2016, pending decisions on the optional buses.
“This positions the company and its employees very favorably through early 2016,” Tooley said.
BIG YEAR FOR NOVA
Nova Bus and its related company, Prevost Car, have landed several contracts this year that will be manufactured in Plattsburgh.
Nova received a $148 million contract for 300 buses from the Chicago Transit Authority in May, and Prevost secured a $164.8 million contract for 300 buses from the MTA in July.
Tooley said work on those contracts is expected to start next year.
Nova also received a $7 million order for 16 buses for the Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority and a $48 million contract with the MTA of Harris County (Houston) for 70 buses, both of which have been completed.
The MTA solicited bids for the job in January.
The selection criteria, in descending order of importance, were overall project cost, New York state content, overall quality of proposer and product and other relevant matters, according to the MTA website.
Nova Bus and New Flyer submitted best and final offers on Aug. 21.
The MTA Selection Committee unanimously recommended the award as approved because Nova Bus’s significantly lower price and greater New York state content outweighed New Flyer’s higher technical evaluation.
The Nova Bus bid came in at $467,413 per bus, compared to $496,990 for New Flyer.
The Nova Bus proposal includes 30.44 percent New York content, while New Flyer’s had 24.36 percent.
The MTA went with a split award to expedite delivery and acceptance of the buses, which allows it to remove overage buses faster and thus reduce maintenance costs.
It estimates it will speed the process by 21 weeks and continue to foster price and technological competition between the two companies.
Tooley said Nova Bus has about 30 suppliers based in New York, which helps it exceed competitors’ New York content percentages.
“I think that’s an important aspect in dealing with the MTA and one of the reasons we located here,” he said.
North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said it is another sign 2013 is ending on a strong note for the North Country, with $128 million for economic-development projects and now $194 million for bus production at Nova in Plattsburgh.
“This is on top of earlier contract awards this year for Nova, Prevost and Bombardier, creating a great pipeline of work for our transportation equipment companies and their employees,” he told the Press-Republican by email.
“Congratulations to Nova, which is earning a solid place in the U.S. transit bus market, and our thanks to the MTA and to our partners in Albany who continue to support the future of this manufacturing sector here.”
Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett also welcomed the news.
“This is a great Christmas present for Nova Bus and its employees,” he said.
It also speaks to the benefit of New York content provisions, Bassett said.
“It’s great to see New York money being spent in New York.”
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