DC Metro asks carbuilders to consider a local factory

Transit agency asks manufactures to ensure local benefits from contract expected to exceed $1 billion
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WMATA

WASHINGTON — Companies bidding on a contract to build the next generation of railcars for Washington’s Metro system —  a contract expected to be worth more than $1 billion — are being asked how they would spend some of the money in the region, an effort which could include building an assembly plant.

The Washington Post reports that potential bidders are being told they must provide a “detailed narrative” of how they would provide economic benefits to the area, and to agree to make a “good-faith effort” to spend 8% of the total value on small businesses and local subcontractors.

Since no U.S. firm builds railcars, the winning bidder will be a foreign-based company. Three have expressed interest in the contract — China’s CRRC, South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem, and France’s Alstom. But the CRRC bid is plagued by concerns over potential use of the rail cars for cyberespionage, which is leading a group of Washington-area Senators to propose legislation which would block federal funding for Chinese-built cars. [See “DC Metro funding bill would block purchase of Chinese equipment,” Trains News Wire, April 15, 2019.]

CRRC won contracts in Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles in part by agreeing to build assembly plants in Illinois, Massachusetts, and California. And Kawasaki of Japan is building and testing cars in New York and Nebraska for a contract with New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The deadline for bidding on the Metro contract is May 31.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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