A contract between a Chinese railcar company and Los Angeles County’s transportation agency is expected to bring 64 subway cars, 50 local jobs and $38 million in wages and benefits to the region in the coming years.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and China Railway Rolling Stock Corp Ltd (CRRC) signed the $178 million deal on Wednesday at the Union Station Metro Red Line Station.
The first pilot rail vehicle is expected to be delivered by the spring of 2020, and the entire base order by September 2021.
“The CRRC trains are going to improve a lot of customer experience with new features that the current trains don’t have,” LA Metro spokesman Dave Sotero told China Daily.
The features include gangways between cars so that passengers can walk through the cars, as well as LED screens inside the trains and active line maps for passengers.
The current railcars are near the end of their useful life now, and the agency will eventually need almost 300 cars to meet the demand for higher frequency and reliability, he said.
Of the 64 HR 4000 rail vehicles, 30 will be used to replace existing Metro Red and Purple Line trains now traveling between downtown Los Angeles, the Mid-Wilshire District and North Hollywood.
The remaining 34 railcars will be used for the Metro Purple Line’s first four-mile extension from the Mid-Wilshire District to Beverly Hills when the line officially opens in 2023.
Coupled with up to five options to buy additional subway cars, the total value of the contract is 282 cars for $647 milliono.
Metro chose CRRC because of “the overall best value proposal” offered by the Chinese company.
CRRC had the highest-rated technical offer and lowest price while offering the most robust Local Employment Program and highest US component content, said Metro. CRRC also has an excellent record for on-time vehicle delivery and quality, it added.
The contract will create approximately 50 local jobs generating up to $38 million in local wages and benefits. Approximately 10 percent of all new jobs created will go to targeted disadvantaged workers, according to Metro.
The subway cars’ exterior shells will be manufactured in CRRC’s facility in Changchun, China, and final assembly will take place in Springfield, Massachusetts. The contract exceeds the federal government’s “Buy America” provisions, which require 60 percent of component parts be American-made, according to Metro.