BART awards $896-million contract for 410 new rail cars to Canada's Bombardier

McPartland, others wanted bid time extended to consider French firm that would supply cars 95% made in America

After a lengthy and testy hearing, the BART board has voted 6-2 to award a contract to build a fleet of new rail cars to Bombardier, a Canadian rail car manufacturer.

The cost of the contract is $896 million plus taxes and escalation contingencies.

The contract calls for building 410 train cars and having them in service in 2017. They will replace BART's existing fleet of 40-year-old cars, which the transit agency says are the oldest in the nation by 10 years.

Interviewed Thursday night at a Safeway-sponsored reception for Democratic State Senator Mark DeSaulnier, BART board director John McPartland said he and some other BART board members and many speakers wanted the agency to reject Bombardier's bid because its cars will only have 66% of their components made domestically and instead to accept the bid from the French firm Alstom, which promised to supply cars that would be 95% American.

BART staff members said they recommended Bombardier because its bid was $184 million lower than Alstom's and it had the highest score in a rating system that considered eight factors, including price, experience and past performance and design details.

They said Bombardier is complying with "Buy America" regulations, which require that 60% of the components be made domestically and 100% of the assembly to take place in the U.S.

McPartland and two other directors -- James Fang, Lynette Sweet -- said BART should extend its bidding process because Alstom has said it will improve its bid so it costs less.

But BART staff members said extending the bidding process would violate the agency's bidding rules and the only legal way to extend the process would be to throw out all the bids and start a new process that would take another two years.

Director James Fang proposed extending the bidding process for 11 weeks to give Bombardier, Alstom and Hyundai Rotem, a South Korean company, time to make a final offer that might lower the price for BART.

But the board voted 6-2, with Sweet abstaining, to reject that proposal after BART legal counsel Matthew Burrows said the bidding process was already over and it would be a violation of procedures to accept new bids after the fact.

BART also wants to buy an additional 366 cars that would go into service in 2023. The contract for those cars hasn't yet been awarded.

BART's projected total cost for buying 776 cars is $2.5 billion.

Erika Heidecker, Bay City News, contributed to this report.


Like this comment
Posted by Charlie Brown
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on May 11, 2012 at 11:52 am

Let's see, I first started paying an additional half cent sales tax for Bart back in 1969 and as of now have made zero trips to Canada on it. Since some of my money is now going to go to Canada, I should, perhaps, drive there and take a look. If I did, just to be consistent, I would want to use petroleum coming from the XL Pipeline.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on May 11, 2012 at 11:56 am

Yeah, tax, tax, and more tax so that BART can bring Oakland thugs into my neighborhood. Just what we need. Anyone need slashed or punchtured tires? Curtesy of BART.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on May 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm

My brother grew up in Oakland before he moved to Idaho and he tells me that Oakland teens are riding BART into Peasanton to slash tires just to be able to read about themselves in the papers. And here we sit, suckers that we are, financing the moad of transportation that the criminals are using. This could only happen under our holy and exalted one Barack Hussien Obama. Or North Korea.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 11, 2012 at 12:02 pm

While I would prefer to see the contract going to an American Company, at least the money isn't going to China.

As for Walmart though...

Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on May 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Steve said: "My brother grew up in Oakland before he moved to Idaho and he tells me that Oakland teens are riding BART into Peasanton to slash tires just to be able to read about themselves in the papers."

Steve, are you serious are you just horseplaying here? I'm sure that even bored Oakland teens have better things to do with their time than take a BART all the way out to Pleasanton, then walk at least a mile or two out to the Pleasanton neighborhoods, do their mayhem, and then walk back a mile a two to the BART station (not a very quick getaway), and then take a long BART ride back to Oakland. If they simply want to read about themselves in the papers, they have plenty of things that they could do right there in Oakland. No need to take a long trip to here.

The tire-slashers are home grown right here in Pleasanton. No doubt about it in my mind.

Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on May 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm

It seems that BART made the right choice. Yeah, I higher percentage of American components would have been nice, but not at the cost of an extra $184 million.

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 11, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Stacey is a registered user.


The troll is very serious about their horseplay, yes.

Like this comment
Posted by dknute
a resident of Birdland
on May 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm

good job, john....canada is the right way to go....those french would have put lace over the seats...95% american made...the french don't even speak our language, let alone purchase parts from us. now if we could just get some of that canadian oil....or even farther north, our own!

Like this comment
Posted by Hope the Interiors don't burn
a resident of Livermore
on May 14, 2012 at 10:44 am

Sure hope the new train car interiors are fire retardant. Articles do not say. The first ones were NOT, and a train fire burned through four cars in the SF/Oakland tunnel, killing an Oakland firefighter, and injuring people. The aluminum and plastic filled cars burned down to the bottom of windows. The tunnel was filled with soot.

Before the fire "Omnipotent" BARTD claimed they answered only to the PUC, not to local jurisdictions, and the PUC didn't require fire retardant. After the fire Oakland Fire Chief Wm. Moore declared the tunnel unsafe; the PUC woke up, and the tunnel was shut it down for 3 months, until BARTD agreed to fix the fans, the standpipes, and to a replacement program for the highly combustible seats and interior finishes, which took several years. Doing it right in the first place would have saved money and life.
Also are they going to do something about the noise in the cars, now that they no longer have the carpets?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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