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The Toronto Transit Commission and Bombardier Transportation Canada Inc. officially sealed the deal on a $1.2-billion contract for 204 low-floor streetcars, with none of the political drama of last week's city-council meeting over how to pay for the project.

Tuesday's signing ceremony came after Toronto city council pledged to put up $834-million - twice what it had previously committed - to ensure a go-ahead for the manufacture and delivery of replacement streetcars. The city's aging fleet of vehicles dates to the 1970s.

Right after the June 26 council meeting, TTC handed a notice of award letter to Bombardier to keep to a bid-price deadline the next day.

With the contract signed, Bombardier expects to deliver a prototype vehicle to the TTC in 2011, with the first ones in service for 2012. All cars are expected to be delivered by 2018.

The new contract also includes an option for the TTC to purchase up to 400 light-rail vehicles for new transit lines in suburban areas of the city. The first of those lines already have funding pledged from the provincial and federal governments.

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