Business and labor groups urge San Francisco's BART to buy USA-made rail cars.
As we've previously reported, the San Francisco Bay Area's BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit authority) is close to finalizing a deal to purchase 775 new rail cars to replace its existing fleet, the oldest in the country. These new cars would require a public investment of more than $3 billion.
The BART board of directors is trying to decide between bids from three finalists: Bombardier, Alstom, and Hyundai Rotem.
This Thursday, BART will hold a hearing on Bombardier's bid, which came in at 2% less than Alstom's projected costs, and 4% less than Hyundai Rotem. Bombardier projects that 60% of its car content would be USA-made, while Alstom says its content could reach 95% American-made.
As the BART board weighs its options, various groups (including the California Labor Federation and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers) are urging that BART go with Alstom's proposal, which they see as the most American-made option.
Alstom Transport's proposal to BART pledges to exceed the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) 60% Buy America minimum requirement, and would deliver rail cars that are 95% Made in America. Alstom would manufacture propulsion systems and conduct final car assembly at its Hornell, New York facility, America’s largest passenger rail production site. All other major components would be provided by U.S. suppliers. Alstom's work could create nearly 500 new jobs through the BART contract. To carry out the rail car work, Alstom would invest $20 million to establish the country’s only aluminum rail car body manufacturing facility, at its location in Hornell, New York.
Supporters of Alstom's bid say that awarding a railcar contract of this magnitude to Bombardier, when their proposal "barely meets" Buy America requirements would "send the wrong message to the railcar industry, the workers and BART’s riders."
The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) strongly urges BART to consider the overall economic benefits of maximizing domestic content when making its decision.
AAM is urging supporters of "Made in America" to contact BART's board of directors and encourage them to "Keep it Made in America."
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