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It's full steam ahead for new subway cars from China as judge rejects challenge from losing bidder

A Suffolk Superior Court judge today denied a request from Hyundai-Rotem to block the T from buying new Orange and Red Line cars from a Chinese manufacturer.

Judge Mitchell Kaplan said nothing he saw convinced him the state did anything wrong in awarding a $566-million contract to CNR MA, a joint venture of two Chinese companies, to build 152 new Orange Line cars and 132 new Red Line cars. The cars are due to begin rolling out between 2018 and 2021.

[The state bid request] requires that a contract subject to its terms be awarded to the lowest responsible and eligible bidder, but CNR was the lowest bidder by a wide margin and the court has not seen anything in the record to suggest that as the largest manufacturer of rail cars in the world, CNR could not have met the responsible and eligible standards set out in the statute, if they had applied.

Hyundai-Rotem sought a preliminary injunction against the awarding of the contract in state court after a federal judge tossed a similar request in March.

In a statement, a T spokesman said:

The MBTA is pleased that the court affirmed the judgments of the MBTA and found absolutely no merit to Hyundai's arguments. The MBTA looks forward to advancing the process of procuring these critically important subway cars.

Hyundai-Rotem did win a T bid to build new commuter-rail coaches; those cars arrived in Massachusetts 2 1/2 years late.

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Comments

With luck, we'll have brand new Orange Line cars before the current fleet turns 40 years old. That's less than 5 years from now, so please, lets just build the new cars now, no more lawsuits.

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The subway in Beijing is better than any American transit system I've seen. Let's get these built!

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They needed to host the Olympics to spur them to improve their older system.

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...CNR was the lowest bidder (if only because they didn't include the cost of a Massachusetts final-production facility in the bid, as they were looking for a US assembly location anyway), have fulfilled big-time production orders before, and already make loads of car shells at the moment.

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Ok, so their US facility is in Massachusetts. But then what happens when the contract for their next bid says the cars have to be built in New York State, the one after that in Illinois, after that in Pennsylvania...

The purpose of public transportation should be to move the public efficiently, not to spend as much as possible in your own state.

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AND the snow?

What about when it's hot out?

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It's going to be hard for them to get other contracts in North America. Also I think the contract was so low as they were selling these at cost

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We already do more business with China than is good for us. Every dollar we give to China makes that country stronger and ours weaker. China is one of the two emerging superpowers of the twenty-first century, and has strategic ambitions that put it on a collision course with the United States. Why are we doing business with a country we will almost certainly be going to war with in twenty or thirty years?

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Also, if the T had gone with the higher priced Canadian company, people would probably be screaming about the T wasting our hard-earned taxpayer dollars.

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Incorrect, there are plenty of experienced manufacturers with a presence in the states. They just all either:

1) know the T's reputation and don't even want to touch it.

2) bid, but couldn't possibly compete cost-wise.

There's not much of a market for subway cars in the US right now, but that doesn't mean our only option is China.

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And sorry, foreign firms like Siemens and Bombardier don't count on account of, well, they are foreign firms.

Budd is long out of business, and even when they were around, Colorado Railcar were more interested in DMUs and commuter rail than subways.

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Eh, I count them. They've been around in the states for decades with manufacturing facilities in multiple states producing multiple types of equipment for countless buyers. Note that I said "presence in" not "headquartered in".

Sure Bombardier's profits might end up back in Canada eventually, or Alstom's in France, or Siemens' in Germany, or Kawasaki's in Japan, but with the cars being produced in the US in facilities that have been around for decades providing steady jobs, the majority of the money spent still remains in the States. There's a huge difference between these firms and a new entry into the market like CNR. It's a gamble, that seems unnecessary to me.

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Unless the design and manufacture is in the States, you are basically talking about companies who were once in CNR's shoes, and in the case of Hyundai-Rotem, the plaintiff in this suit, we saw how that went.

This thread started with a comment about how giving the contract to a Chinese firm is wrong. My counter is that it is no worse than anyone else. The thing that gets me is that American companies make locomotives, but none of them will make even passenger cars, let alone LRVs or subway cars.

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But patriotism! Patriotism demands we waste public money!

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that everything from your sox to rail cars have to come from China. Why do we continue to ship our manufacturing jobs to a country that is looking to start a War with us?

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They were the lowest bidder. Would you be willing to pay more taxes so we could afford to have them built someplace else?

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would if it meant American jobs. Most Americans would if they knew the jobs stayed here. American workers out produce our foreign competitors and most certainly the Chinese.

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The jobs are going to be here. Your irrational patriotism is already forcing this company, even though it's Chinese, to build an entirely new factory in this country to fabricate these trainsets, just so it "creates jobs." There's a Federal law called the "Buy America Act" that forces public entities to buy transportation equipment from companies manufacturing said equipment in the US.

I'm sure all the other taxpayers appreciate this added expense.

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You do realize these are going to be mostly built in the US, right? They're not building them in China then shipping them over, they're using this as a basis to establish a manufacturing presence in the US.

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They are going to be assembled (key word there) in Massachusetts.. Springfield to be exact. So many jobs will be going to people in an area of our state who need manufacturing jobs like Springfield.

This is a requirement of the contract. And as someone said above, it's probably to give this company a US base to be able to bid American made subway cars. I'd like to think since the MBTA would be their first customer, they will do whatever it takes to us happy since its our happiness that will enable them to get other bids.

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Yep, that's why CNR underbid so much on this contract. They are willing to take a loss to break into the US market. Kinda the same as why Keolis is taking a loss on the commuter rail contract.

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Why do we continue to ship our manufacturing jobs to a country that is looking to start a War with us?

The set of people who have actually been sending manufacturing jobs overseas is very small. I feel safe in my belief that none of those people comment on UHub. You may argue that by electing politicians who make the laws and regulations facilitating job exportation, "we" are complicit. I disagree with that. We almost never get to vote for people who are both opposed to those policies and sane.

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