Big bus contract means new jobs in North Country

Published: Feb. 28, 2020 at 6:05 PM EST
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Nova Bus announced one of its largest contracts to date and it could mean big things for the North Country. Our Kelly O'Brien visited the Plattsburgh plant Friday to learn more from the company and industry leaders.

The showroom at Nova Bus in Plattsburgh was full of lawmakers, business officials, school leaders and Nova Bus employees Friday, to announce one of the largest U.S. contracts in the company's history.

"A potential 500 buses, it's amazing for this," said Peter Allen of Nova Bus.

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is set to pay Nova Bus $132 million for 165 of its 40-foot hybrid buses. The first round hits New York City streets in May.

"This new contract will create approximately 42 new jobs at Nova Bus here in Plattsburgh," said Greg Cody, the general manager of the Plattsburgh plant.

If the first round of buses is a success, there is the promise of more-- 330 hybrid and diesel buses. Nova Bus won't say how much New York City would pay for them but the order would keep the production line going until 2021.

"A good long order and it will be a good run for us," Cody said.

Nova Bus is headquartered in Quebec. A decade ago, it made a move into Plattsburgh.

"Just how well they are doing nationally and how well they are doing so quickly. Ten years is nothing to break into a major market like the bus market in a country as big as the U.S.," said Garry Douglas of the North Country Chamber of Commerce.

Just a few months ago, fully electric buses rolled off the line in Plattsburgh, something Douglas says is preparing Plattsburgh for the future.

"We thank them for that confidence and that commitment because it means this isn't just the buses of today, it'd about the buses of tomorrow and they are going to be made here and they are going to be across this country," he said.

"This contract is a great example of strong economic ties between Quebec and New York state," said Sebastien Lanthier, the director of economic affairs for the Quebec Government Office in New York.

Nova Bus says the benefit of the contract extends beyond Plattsburgh to its more than 100 suppliers across New York.