Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New BART Car Rail Sourcing

If you saw the article in the January 30th Matier and Ross column in the SF Chronicle about BART's new fleet of rail cars being built overseas, you might have some questions about the sourcing on BART’s new rail cars. BART has respectfully asked that the record is corrected, their response is printed below:

BART’s new train cars will be assembled in America, not overseas.

That’s the law. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requires

that 60% of the value of the material be domestic and that final

assembly take place in the U.S. However, the FTA laws prohibit BART

from considering where in the U.S. the final assembly will take

place. If BART intends to use federal funds to help pay for these

much needed new cars, we cannot give preference to a car builder who

says they are going to assemble the cars in California or even the

Bay Area.

What BART can do legally and has done, is to provide an incentive in

the bid evaluation process for car builders to exceed the required

minimum 60% domestic content. BART's Buy America Bid Preference

Policy for Federally Funded Rolling Stock Procurements, a first for

U.S. transit agencies, factors in additional American-made content in

the price proposal scoring process, all in the interests of creating

and supporting American jobs.

The column also reported on the cost of our new fleet by citing a

funding agreement that includes engineering and inspection expenses.

These kinds of expenditures are important. Think of someone planning

to buy a piece of land and then build a new home on it; among other

things they need to hire a land surveyor and an architect to design

and oversee the project.

Designing the next generation of high performance train cars for the

unique features of BART is a quantum leap in complexity compared to

building a house. The estimated 16.9% on the base order of 260 cars

(total cost $1.3B) or 12.1% on an order of 775 cars (total cost

$3.2B) for those design, engineering, inspection, safety

certification, testing and warranty administration services is well

within the norm for transit agencies purchasing new vehicles. For a

contract of this size and complexity, prudent expenditures on project

management is protection against schedule delays and cost overruns.

They can help to ensure that the cars that roll out of the car

builder's domestic assembly plant are ready to provide safe and

reliable service to BART's 370,000 daily riders.

Based on the pricing in initial proposals for the new car

procurement, BART expects that the pricing in final proposals will be

such that BART will ultimately pay considerably lower average per car

prices if it is able to order all 775 cars as compared to only the

base order. Also, many engineering, design and testing costs are

payable to the car builder only for the base order of cars.

BART will continue to listen to the concerns of all stakeholders in

the new car procurement, but we need to continue to conduct the

procurement in a manner that complies with all applicable laws and

does not jeopardize federal funding.

We do need to replace all of our trains. We have the oldest train car

fleet in the nation. Many of our train cars are 40 years old and it’s

not only harder to find replacement parts, it takes more time and

labor to keep them running.

We want to collaborate with all the stakeholders in ensuring that

BART continues to provide safe, reliable transportation for future

generations of riders and to keep the Bay Area economy running.

What’s the economic risk of not reinvesting in BART? Consider the

fact that during the rush hours, BART carries 50,000 commuters across

the bay, as many as the Bay Bridge.

-John McPartland President, BART

Board of Directors

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