A vote altered to alleviate paralyzing confusion allowed the city’s transit committee to green light a $17-million SmartBus suite that would include next-stop announcements and a real-time predictive arrival system.

Initially, three of the five councillors present voted against allowing OC Transpo to redistribute $4.6 million from other projects in order to meet the project’s price tag, despite approving $12.4 million already in the budget for such things.

The decision left the committee to decide on recommending whether to implement fewer SmartBus features, to equip fewer buses with the full suite or to cancel the process outright.

That debate was averted when Coun. Christine Leadman changed her vote to allow the proposal to rise to city council next week.

Council could still veto the proposal, as Innes Ward Coun. Rainer Bloess had suggested, but deputy city solicitor Carey Thomson warned the committee that cancelling the process could put the city in a position to be sued by preferred supplier Clever Devices.

There is even a possibility the city could be sued by current smart-bus technology provider Bell Canada, but Thomson said there has been no indication Bell would do so.

The committee briefly went into a closed private session to get more details on the legal matters.

Bloess said he was not comfortable with the tendering process for this contract and wanted to restart it to ensure that the city was getting a better value. His motion was defeated 3-2.

Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Jacques Legendre said council should move forward, saying it was a good price and that he was concerned about having to fight yet another lawsuit.

“I’m now more concerned that if we decide to start over, the winning bidder would now have a very good case for a suit, but that’s my assessment and I’m not a lawyer,” he said.

Latest From ...