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Prevost lands $164.8 million contract

By: DAN HEATH

PLATTSBURGH — Prevost has landed a $164.8 million contract to build 300 buses in the Town of Plattsburgh for the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority.

The MTA Board of Directors approved the contract at a meeting Wednesday.


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The over-the-road, clean-diesel buses would be built at the Nova Bus plant on Banker Road for MTA’s New York City Transit.

North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said the contract is another next step forward in Plattsburgh’s emergence as one of North America’s top centers for the production of 21st-century transportation equipment.

“The addition of this exciting new operation shows great confidence by Volvo and Prevost in our area’s ability to make such a venture successful,” he said by email. 

“We and our partners have been pleased to work actively with Prevost, the state and others in the effort to secure this critical first contract and make the venture happen here, and we are fully ready to assist with workforce training and other needs in the months ahead.

“This will include a state training program we will be overseeing for Prevost and the North Country Regional Economic Development Council. Special thanks (go) to the MTA, Prevost, Gov. Cuomo, Empire State Development, The Development Corporation, Clinton Community College and all of the team that worked together once again for investment and jobs in the North Country.”

BOARD MEETING

Gilles Corriveau, a spokesperson for Prevost, would only confirm the company had submitted a proposal to the MTA.

“We have not received any sort of official confirmation from the MTA,” he said on Wednesday, adding that the company is in the midst of its annual two-week summer holiday.

The Press-Republican listened to the MTA Board of Directors webcast Wednesday morning, where the Prevost contract was one of several approved.

COMMERCIAL BUSES

Prevost, based in Sainte-Claire, Quebec, acquired Nova Bus in 1998. Both companies are part of the Volvo Group. 

The company makes buses like those used by commercial bus lines, which are the type that make up this contract. Judie Glaves of the MTA Press Office said the buses will replace the oldest in the fleet and will be used on Express routes from the outer boroughs into Manhattan.

Prevost also makes conversion coaches, such as the tour buses used by entertainers.

According to a staff summary on the MTA website, Prevost was competing against MCI for the contract. Both submitted Best and Final Offers on June 7.

NEW YORK CONTENT

Prevost’s final award amount of $164.8 million was $5.4 million less than the $170.2 million proposed by MCI.

While MCI had a higher technical score, MTA staff felt that was outweighed by the lower cost and Prevost’s commitment of 21.56 percent New York content compared to 15.47 percent  by MCI.

The contract calls for two pilot buses to be delivered in February 2014. One will be used for in-service testing and the other for a configuration audit and qualification testing.

Delivery of the remainder of the order is scheduled to start in September 2014 and be completed in February 2016.

‘TRANSPORTATION HUB’

A plan to build a 8,740-square-foot addition of the Nova Bus plant was approved by the Town of Plattsburgh Planning Board earlier this year but was contingent on Prevost’s ability to secure orders. It includes an assembly area as well as water-testing, bus-washing and inspection areas.

Prevost had estimated it could add 34 employees once the expansion is finished and up to 49 within three years. Nova reported in April it had slightly more than 200 employees in Plattsburgh.

State Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) said she was pleased to hear the company had secured another contract that will help keep the Plattsburgh workforce employed. 

It is another sign, she said, that other parts of the country recognize Plattsburgh — with Bombardier, Nova Bus and now Prevost — as a hub for the manufacture of mass-transportation vehicles.

“We are also getting subsidiary companies that supply these companies,” Little said.

NEW JOBS WELCOME

State Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R-Peru) said she was delighted with the MTA’s decision because it shows they recognize that Volvo Group companies produce a great product.

And she said the potential for an addition to the Nova Bus plant and new jobs there is also great news for the region.

“We’re becoming part of a recognized transportation hub,” she said.

Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Bernie Bassett said the approval was fantastic news, especially considering the ripple effect through local suppliers. 

“This corporation produces a fantastic product,” he said.

REGIONAL MARKETING

Bassett said the town is working with Prevost and local sources to provide funding for employee training. The buses, he added, also provide a regional marketing opportunity.

“It’s great for the region to see (buses manufactured in) the Adirondack Coast and Town of Plattsburgh show up in major cities across the country.”

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com

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