Chinese train manufacturer wins Massachusetts contract
Updated: 2014-10-23 06:17
By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York(China Daily USA)
A Chinese train manufacturer was awarded a $566.6 million contract on Wednesday to build 284 subway cars for Boston's subway system.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MDOT) board of directors unanimously approved the contract with a unit of CNR MA Corp, according to MDOT spokesman Joe Pesaturo. The company was the lowest of six bidders on the contract.
CNR MA Corp is a joint venture of Changchun Railway Vehicles and China CNR Corp Ltd, a Chinese government-owned enterprise that is the world's largest rail car maker.
The new cars will replace the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's 32-year-old Orange Line trains and the 44-year-old Red Line cars.
The contract calls for the CNR unit to build the cars at a $60 million facility it will build and operate in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Three of the other bidders criticized CNR's inexperience. MassDOT board members praised the procurement process when they took the vote at their monthly meeting, according to the Boston Globe.
"This is a win for our riders. This is a win for our financial bottom line. And it's a win for this authority," MassDOT board member Janice Loux was quoted by the Globe as saying.
Xiwei Lu, president of CNR MA, said he was excited to get the project, and said the manufacturing facility in Springfield will create more than 250 manufacturing and construction jobs for locals, according to the newspaper. "We will keep our promise, and that's a commitment for us," he said.
Officials said most of the work would be done in the United States, with 60 percent of the parts coming from America.
CNR apparently is also seeking to supply trains for California's proposed $68 billion high-speed railway project in the state.
A spokesman for the California High-Speed Rail Authority said on Wednesday that it had received five inquiries or expression of interest for a contract to supply up to 95 trains for the system, and did not identify who had submitted them.
The authority spokesman said the agency may release more information on the expressions of interest on Friday.
Reuters reported on Tuesday that CNR, its unit Tangshan Railway and US-based SunGroup USA, would be among those submitting an expression of interest.
By 2029, the California system will run from San Francisco to Los Angeles, making the trip between the cities in under three hours, and will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 800 miles with up to 24 stations.