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Rail car maker delays project

New rail cars offer less grunge, more capacity

The manufacturer of new rail tyson.gifcars for Metro is delaying the project so that it can work with the Federal Transit Administration to show it meets Buy America standards, a Metro official said Friday.

"Metro has received a notice from Kawasaki that it is extending its notice-to-proceed date for the manufacture of Metro's new railcars from July 5 to August 13, in order to allow time for Kawasaki to work with the Federal Transit Administration to demonstrate compliance with Buy America standards," said Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein in an e-mail.

Metro had planned to sign an $886 million contract with Kawasaki for 428 rail cars on Friday. Of the 428 cars, 128 will help Metro provide service on the Silver Line extension to Dulles International Airport, and 300 will replace Metro's oldest rail cars. Metro has described replacing the cars as its No. 1 safety priority.

-- Ann Scott Tyson

By Michael Bolden  | July 2, 2010; 6:27 PM ET
Categories:  Metro, Silver Line  
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Of course I'm glad that Metro is going to be buying new and more cars. But it really is discouraging that it could not find any U.S. firm able and interested in getting an $800 million+ contract, especially given that there are other mass transit systems that are or will be buying subway cars.

What a wonderful jobs the Wall Street "Masters of the Universe" have done in outsourcing American jobs. And why can't stimulus funds do more to bring more of these jobs back to America?

Posted by: edallan | July 3, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

These cars will be completely American-made. As I understand it, the body shells will be built in Lincoln, Nebraska and the final assembly will be done in Yonkers, New York.

Posted by: SchuminWeb | July 3, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Well, SchuminWeb, WILL they or WON'T they be built in the US?
As I recall the first cars were built by Ferrari, the Italian Mustang. And others since have gone anywhere but a known US corp.
Your reassurance needs to be backed up !
Help us out here. How exactly does this work?
Or perhaps the WaPo should do this job.
WaPo educate us.

Posted by: catellyne | July 3, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Rohr Industries built the 1000 series of railcars. Rohr was an American aerospace company; however, Rohr exited subway car market after building the BART cars in the SF Bay Area and the Metro cars here.

An Italian firm built the shells for the 2000-4000 series. The parts were American supplied. The 2000-3000 cars were recently rebuilt in upstate New York.

There is such a small market for rail car vehicles in the United States that non-U.S. companies win the contracts; however, the rail cars are assembled in the U.S. and use U.S. components. It's very similar to what foreign auto makers do, i.e., open U.S. plants to build "foreign" cars, e.g., Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai.

If you want more U.S. companies to win railcar contracts, then you ought to persuade Congress to subsidize rail transit the way it does automobile and airplane transportation, or take away subsidies from auto and air transportation. If the subsidies were removed, we'd be clamoring for rapid transit.

Posted by: RockvilleBear | July 3, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

+1 for RockvilleBear's comments.

Posted by: pennyeverline | July 4, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

+1 for RockvilleBear's comments.

Posted by: pennyeverline | July 4, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

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