UPDATE: Legal battle brewing between Crosslinx Transit Solutions and Metrolinx

A legal battle is brewing between Crosslinx Transit Solutions (CTS), the consortium building the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, and Metrolinx.

Crosslinx filed a Notice of Application with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice directed to Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario due to the failure of Metrolinx to retain an operator for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT.

“CTS has been forced to take this step after months of engagement with Metrolinx about the challenges to the project as a result of Metrolinx having no signed operating agreement with the TTC (despite having a decade to do so),” wrote a spokesperson in an e-mail to the Daily Commercial News. “With the Notice of Application CTS is seeking to be treated fairly to allow us to work efficiently to complete the project as quickly as possible.”

The notice asks the court to find that Metrolinx has an obligation to enter into a contract (an operating agreement) with the TTC as the intended operator of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and bind the TTC to a contract consistent with CTS’ contract, adding to the statement .

Metrolinx president and CEO Phil Verster said Metrolinx received a notice late in the day on May 15 indicating CTS intends to litigate and stop working with the TTC.

“This is another unacceptable delay tactic by CTS at a time when they should be submitting a credible schedule to Metrolinx for completing the project,” said Verster in a statement issued May 16. “While Metrolinx is driving and supporting CTS to complete the project, CTS is looking for new ways to make financial claims. CTS’s behavior continues to be disappointing, especially for our Toronto community who have been patiently waiting for the completion of this project.”

In response, CTS said, “We are disappointed with the characterization of this action as a ‘delay tactic,’ when this action seeks to remove existing barriers to completion so that we can get this project opened to the public as soon as possible.”

The project, which has been under construction since 2011, has been plagued by delays and cost overruns for years.

“Metrolinx and the TTC have been working collaboratively for years to get the Eglinton Crosstown LRT ready for customer service, but now require a schedule that describes how they will complete the testing, commissioning, safety and quality rectifications of the rail line,” Verster continued .

“Metrolinx will defend this latest legal challenge by CTS as we have done several times before. The cost of CTS’s delays are for CTS to bear. Metrolinx is already holding significant payments for poor performance. We will continue to hold CTS to account and examine every remedy under the project agreement to ensure the project is delivered to a high quality and that it is safe and reliable to open.”

During a transit announcement on April 27, Verster said there were 260 non-conformance and quality control issues identified and that the track work did not meet specifications. At the time, crews were tearing up a platform at the Sloane stop and Eglinton Avenue East after it was discovered that a section of concrete was uneven.

With construction of more than 98 per cent complete and testing, training and commissioning of the underway, the TTC is able to make requests and provide input at any time, including at a late stage, that goes beyond CTS’s contractual responsibilities, the CTS statement reads.

“Metrolinx has refused to manage or take ownership of these late changes requested by the TTC despite the undeniable continual impact on the project schedule,” said CTS. “This has resulted in delays to the project outside our control and significant cost overruns which CTS has continued to incur.”

CTS has not suspended or stopped any work on the project.

“However, we have asked the court to find that CTS is not obligated to continue working on the project while the issues between Metrolinx and the TTC are being resolved. It is not tenable for CTS to continue working towards shifting standards, requirements and goal posts of project completion.”

Follow the author on Twitter @DCN_Angela.

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