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Political leak may compromise order for new Metro trains - regional economic benefit should be one of the relevant considerations say Liberal Democrats

September 18, 2019 5:39 PM
Metro signResponding to speculation on Nexus Metro procurement amid suggestions by the Mayor of Tees Valley that Hitachi's Newton Aycliffe plant will not be the eventual winner of the contract for new Metro trains, North East Liberal Democrats chair Cllr Greg Stone said:
"Clearly a procurement process is well advanced. It would be legally problematic if that process has been compromised by a political leak and it could lead to delays and legal challenge by unsuccessful bidders. We are already concerned by the potential delay in replacing the current life-expired Metro fleet, which is experiencing increasing daily breakdowns affecting service reliability. This will only get worse between now and 2024 when the new fleet will be complete. The first new trains are due in 2021, but no order has yet been placed.
"This situation is politically embarrassing for Nexus and council leaders on the Joint Transport Committee overseeing this, and reveals shortcomings in public transport governance in the region given comments by the Mayor of North of Tyne and others in support of retaining public procurement spend within the North East. It would be a huge blow to the region's economy if this were to affect the viability of Hitachi's site.
"Transparency is needed on how this contract will be awarded. Regional economic benefit should be a relevant consideration along with quality and price."