MBTA's $190 Million Rail Car Gamble

MBTA is spending almost $200 million for 75 new rail cars from a South Korean company that has yet to sell its cars in the U.S., so rail experts have expressed doubts about the wisdom of this purchase for the troubled Boston T.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority "has placed a $190 million bet (for 75 new double-decker cars) on a company, Hyundai Rotem that has yet to open an assembly plant on American soil, a requirement under federal law."

"Even if someone's produced very good trains elsewhere in the world, doing it in the United States is a whole new drill," said Fred Salvucci, former Massachusetts transportation secretary and now a lecturer at MIT.

"To win the MBTA contract, Rotem bid $30 million less than Kawasaki (the Japanese company that has built rail cars for the MBTA and many of the nation's largest transit agencies for two decades), its only competitor.

The MBTA order will be third in line at Rotem's Philadelphia plant" after Philadelphia's SEPTA and Southern California's Metrolink.

From Ventura County Star:"Metrolink's new cars are reported to be safest yet":

"The train cab and trailer cars - 117 of them - cost more than $230 million and were ordered more than two years ago.

Made by Rotem USA Corp., a division of Hyundai Motors Group in South Korea, the rail cars include the latest "crash energy management" technology developed over a decade of study by the U.S. Department of Transportation."

Thanks to Bay Area Transportation News

Full Story: T betting on untried firm to build fleet

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