The economic decision over the next fleet of BART cars in San Francisco
San Francisco's sprawling transit system, BART, extends underneath the San Francisco Bay and out through eastern cities like Oakland and Alameda. BART ("Bay Area Rapid Transit") officials are currently contemplating a multi-billion-dollar overhaul of their fleet of subway cars.
Currently, BART is trying to decide between bids for 775 new cars from three finalists in the bidding process: Bombardier, Alstom, and Hyundai Rotem. As Andy Thompson reports in the Hornell Evening Tribune, even though Bombardier is currently the low-bidder, there are a variety of factors that will play into the final selection.
BART is now entering a 15-day review of Bombardier's bid, which came in at 2% less than Alstom's projected costs, and 4% less than Hyundai Rotem.
Although the Bombardier bid came in lower than Alstom, BART’s internal review will now audit Bombardier to see how well its bid meets Buy America requirements. Federal law mandates that transit agencies buy rail cars from companies that produce at least 60 percent of the car’s total value in the United States.
Because of this preference for domestic content, Alstom may suddenly become the most viable bidder. This is because BART employs a point system that factors in the percentage of content that would be produced in the U.S.
While Bombardier has the lower bid, Alstom has pledged to deliver cars that are 95 percent made in the U.S.; with aluminum car bodies, propulsion systems and other major components produced at plants in Hornell, NY. Other major components would be sourced by U.S. suppliers, according to Alstom.
A firm that can guarantee its product as 95% American-made content can help to support a lot of good-paying manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
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