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POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION: BART, rail car contract award, Canadian firm Bombardier selected over French firm Alstom, issues regarding cost, American jobs.... 

***Somewhat apropros of earlier reports noted here....

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Canadian company wins bid to build new fleet" - From the Chronicle:

   Canadian railcar manufacturer Bombardier will build BART's new fleet of trains, after winning a battle Thursday with French firm Alstom that pitted a proposal promising more American jobs with one that came in $184 million cheaper.

   Following a three-hour hearing, the transit agency's Board of Directors rejected a proposal to seek another round of bids from the two firms, then unanimously awarded an $896.3 million contract for Bombardier to build 410 railcars, all of which are expected to be hauling passengers by 2020. BART anticipates eventually ordering 775 cars at a cost of $1.5 billion.

   BART's rail cars are unique and costly for a number of reasons. . . . . . . . .

   Bombardier offered not only the lowest bid - about $2.2 million per car - but scored highest in technical rankings. However, BART made the new rail car deal a Buy America project, awarding extra credit to firms for exceeding the federal minimum requirement that 60 percent of the materials used to build the car are made in the United States. While Bombardier said it would use 66 percent domestic materials, Alstom committed to using 95 percent.

   Even with the extra credit, however, BART's staff recommended awarding the contract to Bombardier. That sparked an extensive "Make it in America" media campaign, fueled in large part by Alstom. . . . . . . .


   But Matthew Burrows, BART's general counsel, said that would violate the agency's bidding policy, and could subject it to a legal challenge. . . . . . . . .

   BART officials said accepting Bombardier's bid makes it more likely that the transit agency will be able to afford all of the 775 cars it wants. Rejecting the offer, and starting the bidding process anew would take 18 months, might bring higher bids, and could endanger federal funding, BART's staff cautioned.


   Director Lynette Sweet said she was torn over whether to choose a lower bid over one offering more jobs, but noted that both firms planned to assemble the new rail cars in upstate New York - not the Bay Area..............