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VANCOUVER (Reuters) - The province of British Columbia said on Thursday it has selected a consortium led by SNC-Lavalin Inc (SNC.TO) to design, build and finance a C$1.4 billion ($1.43 billion) light-rail line linking three suburban cities in the greater Vancouver area.
The planned 11-kilometer (6.9-mile) rapid transit line, set to begin running in the summer of 2016, will connect the West Coast Canadian cities of Burnaby, Port Moody and Coquitlam, British Columbia.
The Evergreen Line project, which will feed into the region's existing SkyTrain system, will include a 2 km bored tunnel, seven stations, power substations and parking facilities.
Shares of Quebec-based SNC-Lavalin - designated by the province as the Evergreen Line's preferred lead contractor - ended 1.49 percent firmer at C$38.25 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday.
The company's stock is down by a quarter this year, hit by a missing payments scandal, police investigations into allegations of bribery against SNC officials, and the resignation of its chief executive. Some analysts have said the negative news could scare off prospective customers.
SNC, which is Canada's biggest engineering company, was one of three consortiums shortlisted for the Evergreen project. The other two were EL Partners, which included Bombardier Transportation Canada (BBDb.TO) and Genivar Inc GNV.TO; and Kiewit/Flatiron Evergreen Line, which comprised privately owned Peter Kiewit Infrastructure Co, Germany's Hochtief (HOTG.DE), and Canadian-based Stantec Consulting (STN.TO).
The B.C. government is contributing C$583 million to the project, and will oversee its construction. The Canadian government's contribution is up to C$417 million. Translink, which is the Greater Vancouver area's transportation authority and which will operate the Evergreen Line once it is built, is contributing C$400 million.
Construction will create 8,000 direct and indirect jobs, the B.C. government statement said. Early construction work is underway and will pick up speed after the contract is signed in coming weeks, the government said.
Reporting by Nicole Mordant; Editing by Frank McGurty; and Peter Galloway