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California Briefing / Los Angeles

MTA defers rail car contract

June 26, 2009|Maeve Reston

For the third time this year, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board postponed a decision Thursday on whether to grant a $300-million contract to an Italian rail manufacturer that hopes to build 100 new light-rail cars for the Greater Los Angeles area.

At the same time, the MTA board asked the agency staff to begin preparing a request for proposals from other rail firms to build the 100 cars.

That open-bidding process -- which will include an industry review to begin in the next few weeks -- would proceed if MTA officials cannot reach a deal with AnsaldoBreda, which holds contract options for the manufacture of the 100 additional light-rail cars.

AnsaldoBreda is building 50 light-rail cars for the agency, but agency officials have complained that the cars are 5,000 to 6,000 pounds overweight and that the 50th car will arrive three years late.

Early this year, when the agency's top officials made it clear that they favored seeking bids from other rail firms for the next round, AnsaldoBreda officials offered to build a rail manufacturing plant near downtown Los Angeles and employ local workers if the agency exercised its contract options.

-- Maeve Reston

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