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Disabled Veterans National Foundation Launches Employment and Career Assistance Services

WASHINGTON, Jan 18, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF), an advocate for the VOW to Hire Heroes Act recently signed by President Obama, is offering employment resources and career assistance for disabled veterans interested in help accessing the benefits, training and job opportunities create by the new law.

“There are nearly 90,000 unemployed veterans in the United States and most of them are able to work and sincerely want to work in meaningful jobs,” said raegan rivers, Chief Administrative Officer of the Disabled Vets video. “We are working diligently to help disabled and underserved veterans, including our women veterans, access the benefits created under the new law and connect them immediately to the training, financial assistance and secure jobs they need and deserve.”

The U.S. Department of Labor unemployment report shows that in October 2011, the average unemployment rate among all veterans was 7.7%, and 12.1% for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The number is even higher for veterans with physical and emotional impairment as a result of their military service. One benefit of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act provides disabled veterans up to one year of additional Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits.

The law will help service members be better prepared for the transition to civilian status, expand career counseling, and make it easier for them to convert their military occupational specialties to related job qualifications. The measure also expands education and training for unemployed veterans of previous eras and offers tax incentives for employers to hire veterans who have been out of work for six months or longer.

The DVNF will serve as a career and employment advocate and voice for disabled veterans and their families, including underserved veterans groups such as women, homeless veterans, and those with invisible wounds such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and brain injuries.

For more information, go to www.dvnf.org .

About Disabled Veterans National Foundation: The Disabled Veterans National Foundation exists to change the lives of men and women who came home wounded or sick after defending our safety and our freedom. A nonprofit 501(c)(3), DVNF was founded in the fall of 2007 by six women veterans to expand their scope of work within the veteran’s community. DVNF has helped over 80,000 Veterans and donated over $8.6 million in goods and services in 2011. For more information, visit www.dvnf.org .

SOURCE: Disabled Veterans National Foundation

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Disabled Veterans National Foundation To Deliver Approximately $150,000 Worth of Supplies to Washington, DC

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The September 20 (www.dvnf.org), a non-profit veterans service organization that focuses on helping men and women who serve and return home wounded or sick after defending our safety and our freedom, is delivering approximately $150,000 worth of goods at the upcoming Winterhaven Homeless Veterans Stand Down event in Washington, DC, Saturday, January 21st.

The event is being organized by the Department of Veterans Affairs and any extra supplies will be stored and distributed by the VA to other veterans service groups in the area.

The shipments being made by DVNF will include blankets, jackets, clothing, hats, food, water, shoes and hygiene products. Stand Down events typically last from 1-3 days.

They are a directly impactful method used by the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide services and support to homeless veterans around the country by coordinating with other groups like DVNF. DVNF has supported a significant number of Stand Downs in 2011 around the country. The first Stand Down was organized in 1988 by a group of Vietnam Veterans in San Diego.

“We believe these Stand Down gatherings are an excellent and effective way to directly reach homeless veterans and let them know people care and are there to help,” said Precilla Wilkewitz, President of DVNF. “We are grateful to our many donors to be able to make a difference in the lives of thousands of veterans.

One of our main missions upon our founding was to help homeless veterans- which is a growing problem in our country and in this economy. The number of women veterans who find themselves homeless is on the rise and we are determined to do what we can to help. They deserve our help after all they have given to our nation.”

About Disabled Veterans National Foundation: The Disabled Veterans National Foundation exists to change the lives of Veterans who came home wounded or sick after defending our safety and our freedom. A nonprofit 501(c)(3), DVNF was founded in 2007 by six women veterans to expand their scope of work within the veteran’s community. DVNF has helped over 80,000 Veterans and donated over $8.6 million in goods and services in 2011. For more information, visit www.dvnf.org.

Contact: Disabled Veterans National Foundation Raegan Rivers President of DVNF, 202-737-0522 Chief Administrative Officer rrivers@dvnf.org

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How To Succeed At Forex Day Trading

The Forex trading market is the largest market in the world by far. In fact it is bigger than all the stock exchanges in the world combined. Trading goes on day and night seven days a week and there are millions of individuals, companies and even governments using the Forex to make money every minute. However, do not let this trick you into thinking that trading Forex is easy money, because it is not.

Most Forex traders trade on a long term basis, but others trade much more frequently, buying and selling the same position within 24-72 hours. These traders are called ‘day traders’. In order to trade Forex profitably you will have to learn the ropes.

One of the best methods of doing this is to open a practice Forex trading account. Most of the online Forex trading companies offer a practice account and the best ones offer free accounts and free practice accounts too. Again, the best Forex trading companies offer free technical and fundamental analysis along with access to all historical financial data and current financial information.

If you have never traded Forex before, you will almost certainly lose money, unless you are fortunate, but you do not want to be relying on luck when you use your own, real money. You will want to be relying on ability and information, although hoping for a bit of luck too is not unusual.

At the same time as you are learning to use all the financial and analytical tools at your disposal, you should try to develop a sense of detachment from your trades. Never become emotionally involved with one of your trades. It sounds daft, but people do become attached to a trade and lose touch with reality. This is a big mistake and one that professionals do not make.

So, when the statistics tells you to sell, just sell, do not attempt to fool yourself into thinking that everything will be all right next week. This may work for long term trading, but it does not work for day trading, it ties up too much of your capital. When you have developed a system that you think you can trust, say, one that uses the results from a combination of charts, you should stick to it unerringly. This is the only way that you can tell if your scheme works. This is why you need detachment from your trades.

Fear and greed are treacherous emotions, but they play a big part in the strategies, or lack of them, of many day traders. People are frightened of losing money, so if their choice goes down, they hang on praying that it will rise again. This is a dangerous game. You could lose a lot more than if you had got out in the first place.

Likewise, if your judgment was correct and the currency rises as you forecasted, get out when it reaches your goal, do not hang on in there hoping to make more. Greed will get the better of you in the end, if you do. Following a rapid rise, there is often a correction in the price. ‘Correction’ is a euphemism for ‘fall’ and you will be kicking yourself for not selling when you knew you should have.

So beware greed and fear, do not become emotional and stick to your system. However, if your system does not work, even when you follow it to the letter, then change it and test it again. This is the only way that you will be able to progress and make some decent money at Forex trading.

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The Importance Of Having A Will

You’d be surprised at the amount of problems caused when individuals pass away – it really shows just how important having a will is; there are a lot of various reasons as to why people should get one. Having control of what happens with your valuables when you die is crucial so you know they’re being managed correctly.

Certainly one of the main concerns individuals have, is what will come about to their young children. It’s essential that methods are put in place to be certain that they receive the correct help and care when growing up.

You can leave on your will who you desire your child’s guardian to become once you pass away. It’s crucial that you understand the person who you name as the guardian on your will is comfortable taking on this role. After all, it’s a big responsibility to take on.

It’s very popular to find that individuals have valuable things with great sentimental value such as valuable jewellery, antiques, family heirlooms and other items too. It’s critical that when you pass away, these things with great significance to you are dealt with correctly and given to the people who you’d like them to go to. Your will is the perfect place to make a note of where you would like these items to go to once you pass – whether it’s a family member, a close friend or just somebody who would appreciate it.

One of the main factors individuals make a will is to ensure their loved ones have financial security after they pass away. Without having a legal will, if you were to pass away, you’d be in danger of your wants not being carried out how you would have wanted them to should you have had created a will. This can cause huge difficulties when the time comes and you’re unprepared.

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African State of Sudan: National Banner

I have had a special interest in the Sudan flag for a number of years. This horizontal banner is a tricolor, meaning that this flag is made up of 3 bands (also called stripes). This flag also displays a triangle on the left side of the national ensign, also called the hoist side. The Sudanese proudly hoist this ensign on Sudanese residential flag poles.

Sudan is officially called the Republic of the Sudan, note the, which I find interesting. The countries that border this African country are Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and others. Sudan is located in northeastern Africa and came under control of both the British and the Egyptians in 1899, some one hundred and ten years ago!

Flags tend to change over time. Countries and their people change, slowly. Since ensigns are used as a system to communicate, the right message is to be sent. The flag of Sudan has undergone some changes overtime, the biggest change being at the time of the revolution, some 40 years ago.

The new Sudan flag was first flown from Sudanese flag poles on May 20, 1970. It was in fact patterned after the Egyptian flag to express the regime’s pan-Arab policies.

The actual origin of the name of the capital city of this nation is uncertain. Counting nearly 5 million people today, one tradition states that the name of the capital was derived from the Arabic word: “kartum,” which in English means: “end of an elephant’s trunk.” Some controversy remains and will remain about the capital’s name.

Like other national banners, the Sudan flag’s colors have specific meaning. The color red is said to represent the socialist revolution and the blood shed by the country’s patriots. White symbolizes peace and refers to the flag adopted in the 1924 revolution. Black refers to the name of the country. Sudan means “black” in Arabic, hence the republic of the Sudan or black. The color green represents prosperity and is common color used in Islamic nations.

Banners, ensigns and flags have hoisted on Sudanese residential flag poles for years, decades, and maybe even longer. Most societies in our world today have their respective flag or vexilloids, including a number of local societies in this republic. Both colors and symbols used in designs have meaning, alone and combined.

As mentioned in this article, the flag of Egypt as hoisted on modern Egyptian residential flag poles, has interesting similarity to the Sudan flag. Similarities among other world flags include the banners flown by the Netherlands (also referred to as Holland at times) and Luxembourg, etc.

Tricolors have been in use for decades, including the Sudan flag, the German flag, and others. They display nicely from residential flag poles.

Memorable Events From January 2000

I was searching through a history book and it was talking about memorable events of ten years ago, but I had forgotten most of them. I have picked out some of the events of exactly ten years ago this month – January, in a word. So here are a few things that you may or probably will not remember from January 2000.

1 – on his first day as interim president, Vladimir Putin departed to visit Russian troops in Chechnya.

4 – President Clinton recommends Alan Greenspan to a fourth four year term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

5 – President Clinton rules that Elian Gonzalez, a six year old Cuban boy who survived the capsizing of a refugee boat, should be returned to his father in Cuba.

6 – much of Miami is shut down by hundreds of Cuban-Americans protesting the Gonzalez decision. – the S.E.C reports that most partners of Price, Waterhouse, Coopers, the world’s largest accounting firm, violated rules requiring that they may not hold stock in firms that they audit. Five partners were sacked.

7 – Vice Pres. Al Gore back-tracks on his promise to ensure that all new appointees to the Joint Chiefs of Staff were sympathetic to allowing gays to serve openly in the military.

8 – AOL announces a merger with Time Warner for $165 billion: the world’s biggest ever.

11 – the British government rules that General Pinochet is medically unfit to stand trial for suspected crimes against humanity in Chile during his presidency.

13 – executives at the nation’s leading drugs companies say they want to work with Clinton to establish Medicare coverage for prescription drugs this year.

15 – Arkan, the infamous Serbian paramilitary leader was shot dead in a hotel lobby in Belgrade.

18 – Helmut Kohl resigns as honorary Christian Democratic Party chairman over allegations of corruption from within the party.

24 – the Supreme Court rules that laws limiting political donations to $1,000 in Missouri are constitutional.

25 – the Congressional Budget Office reports that the flood of tax revenues ensuing from the exceptionally strong economy will last for ten years.

26 – ‘The New York Times’ informs that U.S investigators have unveiled links between a group of Algerians charged with plotting a terrorist strike in the U.S. and Osama Bin Laden, the exiled Saudi accused of bombing two American embassies.

31 – Republican Gov. George Ryan of Illinois halts all executions in the state citing a disgraceful record of convicting innocent people and putting them on death row. – top officials n the C.I.A. are accused of blocking an internal investigation into indications that the agency’s past director, John M. Deutsch, mishandled secret information.

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Protecting Providing Assistance Of Disabled Vets

Being disabled is no fun, as there’s a world of discrimination as well as life difficulties that can great you. For disabled veterans it can be even worse, because you’re also readjusting to life away from the military. But there are plenty of ways that you can find help and aid to make the road easier to travel. Our first recommendation is Disabled Veterans National Foundation, but there are many other ways to achieve help as well.

Many veterans as they come back have special needs because of the disabilities they suffer in the field. That means physical impairments, as well as mental or psychological ones that can really make life difficult.

For that things are required like different types of medical equipment, or things like therapeutic dogs as well. But some apartment complexes are less than accommodating of such things.

But you have the legal right to get medically necessary dogs, or equipment installed into the property no matter what. There is even legislation out there to protect veterans more specifically.

Beyond that type of help, there are also tons of benefits packages offered by Disabled Veterans National Foundation that can help veterans in need. Those disabled veterans that are unable to work, or that have difficulty with such a thing will find there are accommodations for them.

While some of them come in the form of a loan, you’ll discover that many are just government benefits, so that a veteran can get on their feet, without worrying about how to pay back interest.

With these benefit packages you can help a veteran ease the burden on themselves, because they will be taken care of. Plus they are pretty plentiful once you actually know where to look.

You just have to contact the right government agency, and you’re going to be able to get the veteran’s assistance that you really need. There are tons of agencies out there to help any veteran truly in need.

To discover added in relation to Disabled Veterans National Foundation, don’t hesitate to visit their web page.

Important Unfortunate Realities Concerning Disabled Soldiers

Not everybody realizes how many veterans actually come home disabled. Fighting for your country is a scary thing, and the toll it takes on those that volunteer is both physical and mental. You’d be surprised at just how things can be stacked against disabled veterans when they get home as well. Our friends at Disabled Veterans National Foundation wholeheartedly agree.

Around a third of those in combat, end up coming home disabled in some way. Whether they are wounded in combat with a physical disability, or are stricken with a mental one because of the extreme stress.

You’re going to find that in some cases, many come home with post traumatic stress disorder, even if they have no physical problems. That can be just as bad, if not worse in some instances.

The numbers on how many are actually out of a job and disabled is pretty staggering. Most not even aware of what options they have to take advantage of when it comes to the disability help that’s out there.

But there is help out there offered by disabled veterans national foundation, and you just have to know where to look. The problem is finding the aid that you know you should be able to get. The USA does provide, just in weird ways sometimes.

Usually health care is covered and things of that nature to a degree. But there are more useful options, like benefits, as well as loans that can be taken out, to help secure money for bills while readjusting to civilian life.

Not only that, but you’re also going to discover that there are provisions, and agencies that will help disabled veterans find work as well. That way, finding job opportunities is easier.

You can even discover services that will help to find veteran friendly apartments. That way if you have special needs, you’re not going to get a landlord that’s just going to be a big hassle.

To learn a bit more in regards to DVNF, you’d be wise to go to their websites.

The Forms Of Support For Disabled Soldiers

It’s easy for veterans to be lost when they return home after having fought for their country. But it’s even easier for them to be forgotten, as everybody else’s lives back home have just continued without them. That’s why disabled veterans sometimes need help getting back into the flow. It’s a good thing that The Disabled Veterans National Foundation exists to serve these needs.

The life change between being involved in a war, and being back home in America is pretty drastic. That’s why the civilian support groups that exist, as well as support services are absolutely vital.

When you’re suffering from something like post traumatic stress disorder, you need a support system to help you sleep at night. That’s what many services provide, so that you can get your mind right, and then worry about everything else.

But that’s not where support ends, and there are plenty of private sector agencies that are completely dedicated to helping the troops. In fact, a ton of non-profit services exist for that purpose.

Some of the most vital actually are dedicated to helping disabled veterans find work. It’s hard enough to find work when you’re disabled, but when you’re a veteran just trying back at home for the first time, the task is that much harder.

Many of these groups however, such as The Disabled Veterans National Foundation, have connections to good jobs and good reputable companies that are always looking to employ veterans. That’s where you can find your opportunities to work once more.

There are also private sector entities that are dedicated to providing loan opportunities for veterans. That way you can get small business or even living loans, to make life that little bit easier as well.

Finally, there are tons of groups to connect you with other veterans, or those that can just provide additional support. That way, you always have a friend in need, and they are always willing to help those brave disabled veterans that have helped this country.

To learn a lot of suitable to DVNF, you’d be wise to visit their blog.

About our new streetcars coming to Toronto

This month we had an opportunity to see mockup of new streetcar that will be coming to Toronto in near future, we hope. The vehicle is sometimes referred to with more up-to-date label, as LRV. It stands for Light Rail Vehicle. For those who love public transit and look forward to our future, seeing this mockup is a must. [I:http://topdogfreeware.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/MonicaAlmeida10.jpg]We have to allow that there are many people who will talk down about public transit and prefer cars at any cost. However, such attitudes are not urban. New rail vehicles can bring many changes, and we can hope that it will change attitudes, as well. Taking rails downtown for concert in Roy Thompson Hall of to go to Sony Centre for an opera should be as glamorous as taking a cab or driving a car there. Riding new low-floor streetcars should not be just for those on a budget, or a green thing to do, but a status symbol. Imagine, if, during International Film Festival in Toronto, some movie stars would go to the red carpet with our new LRV, rather than take a limo there? These pictures splashed all over the news might help to change minds of many stalwarts. I have seen some unfriendly comments about the event, posted on transit blog site. I think that these people are just ignorant and need some time.

At the time when cities in North America with streetcars transportation were ripping the tracks and substituting buses, in fifties and sixties, Toronto resisted the trend. Montreal dismantled their trams during August 1959. It is a city that always followed European trends, but Europe always kept their trams. In our capital Ottawa, they dismantled trams during April 1959. Toronto’s rail vehicles were in danger in sixties and seventies, and only strong support from activists saved them until now. North American streetcar manufacturer disappeared from the scene. If you keep the vehicles, how do you replace them, when their useful life is at the end? In North Bay Ontario, there was a plant that had manufactured subway cars for TTC.

Ontario Government had some vision of the future in urban rail transport and set up Urban Transit Development Corporation to develop rail systems and sell it world-wide. This corporation designed and built our present Scarborough RT or ICTS (Interim Capacity Transit System). The cars that are smaller than traditional subway cars are propelled by Linear Induction Motor (LIM). It was a new and untried technology, and only two other buyers were found. City of Vancouver for SkyTrain, and as UrbanMover in Detroit, USA. Other CANADIAN CITIES LIKE Edmonton and Calgary planned to build rail system, but opted for German style LRT from Siemens. In seventies, Urban Development Corporation also designed and built our present streetcar, CLVR (Canadian Light Rail Vehicle) and few years later its bigger sister, ALRV (Articulated Light Rail Vehicle). It is a stretched version of CLRV. Both vehicles have become symbols for Toronto. They ride old rail network, dating back to 19th century. It is referred to as the legacy network. Unfortunately, no other cities in North America were eager to buy our streetcars or ICTSs, and that spelled the end of UTDC.

Ontario Government sold UTDC to a Quebec-based private corporation Lavalin in 1986. Lavalin faced bankruptcy shortly-after. It was forced to sell to Bombardier, another Quebec-based company. When first subway line opened in Toronto in 1954, the cars were manufactured in Thunder Bay, Ontario by Hawker-Siddeley Canada, a division of British based Hawker-Siddeley Group. UTDC was Kingston Ontario based and purchased Hawker-Siddeley in nineties. It ended up a part of Bombardier. Since Thunder Bay company manufactured first subway cars, it had a long relationship with TTC. The plant and the successor company Bombardier remains today a preferred supplier to TTC. Toronto Transit commission is a municipal transportation company founded in 1954. It runs subways, streetcars and buses in Toronto. The Commission is governed by councilors who are elected for city council and appointed for TTC council. These councilors run TTC from the view of City Mayor. The changes in TTC plans have occurred after last elections.

In 2005, Toronto Transit Commission handed over an order to Bombardier for 234 new subway cars. It was a closed order negotiated with the company, with no public tender. TTC came under a strong criticism. Biggest competitor Siemens claimed that it could have saved TTC at least $ 100-million on the purchase. It became apparent that TTC can no longer hand over any future orders. Without letting them win it in public tender.

Unlikely city in USA, Portland in Oregon introduced first modern streetcar in North America in more than 50 years. It was the low-floor Astra model built by Skoda-Inekon consortium in the Czech Republic. This vehicle became a model to emulate by TTC. Portland already had LRT built by Siemens that was connecting Downtown Portland with the Airport. However, LRTs are traditionally built for long and straight stretches with gentle curving. They can’t handle 90 degrees turns are not suitable for mixed road traffic. Streetcar can ride and LRT track, but not vice-versa. Many people have a habit to use LRT or LRV for any modern looking rail vehicle.

Our streetcars are nearing the end of their life and during 2006, TTC issued a Request For Information (RFI) that was sent to all builders of the record. The Commission held a preliminary discussion with them shortly after. There were several options that they were considering. Refurbishing and modernizing old CLRV to extend their useful life. This option had to be scrapped since new legislation provided for wheel-chair accessibility on all. After analyzing different options, TTC decided in favor of 100% Low-floor vehicle. Which design is better or more modern? 70% low-floor or 100% low-floor? There is no straight answer. Both designs have their pluses and minuses. We live in an environment where litigation for trivial matters is order of the day. The Commission most likely wanted to prevent future problems with somebody who trips or falls over a step, inside of the car. Commission issued a final Request For Proposal (RFP) in January 2008 to all builders that have pre-qualified. Documents issued called for 100% low-floor and $ 1 000 000.00 security deposit to be enclosed with the bid. Major unexpected change was a requirement of 25% Canadian content on the cars. There were many unique technical requirements that builders had to fulfill making tender a major design obstacle. Our rail-track has a wide gauge, ability to ride steep hills, sharp turning radiuses of 11m and single-point switches.

When public tenders of such large sizes are issued by Government run agencies, they are always instruments of political objectives. Politics including the backroom one is always decisive in the tenders, and technical characteristics and price are relegated to the side rail. Politicians must be re-elected, and public purchases are handy gears to look good in front of voters. Most politicians are not business people, and costs are not on their mind. Extra costs can be covered with extra taxes. Previous administration led by Mayor Miller had the tax-and-spend mentality and introduced several unpopular taxes. It was the land-transfer-tax and car-registration fee. Streetcar procurement project became politicians’ tools. TTC hired consultants to advise them how much of Canadian content can be required from overseas builders, without causing unnecessary hardship and them losing interest in the assignment. The consultants returned with a report suggesting that no more than 10% of Canadian content can be requested.

Politician-councilors did not put much weight on the consultants’ report and changed the amount to 25%. New amount was incorporated into Request For Proposal (RFP). It was a complex and detailed set of documents but supplemented still by number of amendments. The documents specification talked about a “preferred company.” The meaning was clearly implicit. The tender closed in June 2008, and only two envelopes were handed in. After so much effort with designing of tender, the end became just an embarrassment. Only two envelopes were handed in. One was from a British upstart company that has never built a streetcar yet. It was the reason for being disqualified from the bidding process. The company was not commercially compliant. Transit authorities are not risk-takers and purchase only proven technologies that are in revenue services by other transit authorities. Surprisingly enough, the Commission also decided that Bombardier’s bid does not qualify since it is strictly no-compliant with requested specifications.

There is no doubt that long and costly process ended like a fiasco for the Commission. It was also a disappointment for Torontonians anxiously awaiting good news about new vehicles for our streets. The Commission had to re-open the process. They approached the builders with fact-finding questions. They wanted to know the reasons for not bidding. Would they be interested in the new process? Do manufacturers have 100% low-floor design that is ready? Selection of 100% low-floor versus 70% low-floor and combined with 11-metre turning radiuses, they are big decisions to make. Some experts were saying publicly that only 70% low-floor can accommodate technical requirements.

If technical requirements were not enough, 25% of Canadian content provision has created a major headache for overseas builder with no traditional manufacturing or contact-base in Canada. Such provision clearly favored one company with a long tradition in Canada. Why would other companies participate in the process, when the odds of winning the tender are so much against them? Bids from other companies will only help the Commission to negotiate a better deal with a preselected company of their choice.

Commission started a new round of negotiation in July 2008. This time they narrowed down the companies to 3 builders. Bombardier, Siemens and Alstom. They all had reference to 100% low floor cars, and that was a paramount requirement for TTC. Few industry insiders were saying that local requirements are so unique that there is no streetcar available from the shelf, so past references should not be as important. What counts most is to have an expertise and experience to create a new design.

The original Request For proposal called for tender of 204 vehicles. The schedule called for delivery at the rate of 24 cars per year, until 2018. Commission had budgeted price of $1.2 Billion. The purchase cost was to be split3-ways, among the City, provincial and Federal Governments. Since the later Government refused to participate in funding, City had to pick up 2/3 of the cost. The second procurement process started August 2008 and closed in April 2009. Bombardier won the contract on the base of price, while Siemens was about $500-million higher in the bid. It is not difficult to attribute the difference to the advantage. Alstom completely dropped out of the process. There was another European company that lobbied, but with no success, trying to be added to the negotiated process.

The contract was won in April 2009. It has taken more than 1 year, and a half to see mockup, but TTC has yet to test the vehicle on our rails. It is not very encouraging state of situations. The exact date for arrival of test cars has not been given yet. One might think that Torontonians might enjoy more seeing a car on the rails first, than to look inside. If there are any problems then, we might expect further delays.

The process was a text example of protectionism by non-tariff means. It is not just in Canada but in USA and in many countries. Transportation is not paid by private money, but Governments. Therefore, all levels of Governments make public procurement processes instruments of their policies. IN USA, if municipality required Federal money, then 40% must be content of US origin. If you do not require Federal financing is you are able to secure funds locally, then there is no problem with buying vehicles from overseas. All builders of public transportation system work in a difficult environment of uncertainty. Mass production that would allow manufacturing cost come down is non-existent. Major companies maintain plants around the worlds in order to shift the production to fulfill local needs. Cost of these plants creates higher overhead costs that must be reflected in the final price. Bombardier has a plant in Mexico, where most of work will be done. Who is the winner and who is the looser of working with politics? The winners are easy to identify. It is the company with contract, all its employees and subcontractors. Looser is international trade, economics and free market. Political power play is stronger than technical characteristics. We will never know, who would win the contract at what price, had the councilors accepted consultant’s recommendation in December 2007. The real costs are definitely inflated due to the political manipulations.

Now we believe that streetcars will become popular and ordinary Torontonians will choose them over driving cars across the city. Some negative comments presently seen in the blogs are not so important, but increase in the ridership due to new vehicle will be essential. It should re-introduce Transit City transportation project. The city definitely needs more subway lines, but also surface rail for shorter distance to feed subways. One or the other is just erroneous thinking. Politicians come and go, but what is built will stay. If this administration gives us Sheppard subway line and underground Eglinton line, next administration can finish the Finch LRT line.

New LRTs for trips to work and for pleasure. Coming to old Legacy Lines in TO soon. Be green and use public transit!