MONTREAL - The province, the AMT and the city of Montreal have officially signed a contract with Bombardier-Alstom to build hundreds of new metro cars.

With a news conference on the plaftorm of the Lionel Groulx metro, politicians and officials signed the multi-billion deal.

The contract has been mired in controversy since it was first awarded to Bombardier in 2006 as the sole bidder.

Alstom sued and won the right to have the contract re-opened, but formed a coalition with Bombardier before that could happen. Then in 2008 the transit commission decided to enlarge the order to replace 765 subway cars, but Spanish company CAF and China-based Zhuzhou complained that the bid was not open long enough for competitors to be notified.

In January the government announced it would issue an international tender, and in July that happened, but in late September Transport Minister shut down the bidding process.

On Oct. 5 the government announced it was awarding Bombardier-Alstom a contract to build more than 300 cars, and passed a law to that effect.