BART makes the wrong call on its purchase of 775 new subway cars.
As we're been reporting, the San Francisco Bay Area's BART transit system has been deciding on a roughly $3 billion contract to purchase new subway cars to replace its aging fleet. BART officials had been weighing bids from two finalists, Montreal-based Bombardier, and the French company Alstom.
The tricky part of the issue was that, although Bombardier had offered a lower bid, they had been scrambling to meet a minimum Buy America threshold of 60% U.S.-made content. In contrast Alstom had pledged at least 95% American-made content in the cars they would deliver.
Today was a big day, with the BART board making a final decision on either Bombardier or Alstom.
Unfortunately, the BART board made the wrong call today. In a 9-0 decision, it chose the Bombardier bid.
AAM Executive Director Scott Paul expressed the disappointment of many advocates of U.S. manufacturing:
“The fact that BART elected to go with a new rail car bid that includes a substantial amount of outsourced parts and production shows just how weak our Buy America laws are. We’re very disappointed.
"I hope BART doesn’t share the Chicago experience, where Bombardier was cited by federal authorities for faulty Chinese parts in its CTA passenger rail cars. By contrast, I commend local authorities like the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District that have done the right thing by insourcing more production.
"It's time to redouble our efforts to strengthen state and federal Buy America laws."
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