Press-Republican

March 29, 2012

Bombardier Transportation lands major order

$600M contract for 300 subway cars

DAN HEATH
Press-Republican

PLATTSBURGH — Bombardier Transportation here has won a nearly $600 million contract to build 300 subway cars for New York City Transit.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority Board of Directors approved the $599,473,746 deal on Wednesday.

"The decision by MTA to award this contract to Bombardier is a major win for the people of the North Country and the entire region's economy," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

"This order for 300 new cars comes on the heels of a landmark budget agreement that ensures a fully funded MTA capital budget, allowing the agency to complete major projects and continue to provide top-quality service to New Yorkers."

He said the order allows Bombardier to retain 300 jobs and preserves an additional 200 jobs for its area suppliers.

"We are one state, and this shows how different regions of our state can support each other," Cuomo said.

"We will continue to rebuild New York's vital infrastructure, creating jobs for hard-working New Yorkers and generating economic growth in all corners of the state."

WIN-WIN

Metropolitan Transit Authority Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota said the order is a win-win situation.

"It will improve service for the millions of transit riders in New York City, while preserving jobs for our fellow New Yorkers in the North Country," he said.

Robert Furniss, vice president for business development and U.S. sales for Bombardier Transportation, said the company is proud to continue its 30-plus years of service to the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

"We are also proud that the new R179 cars will be built in New York, by New Yorkers, providing benefits to the state's economy and to the millions of people who ride New York's subway system every day," he said.

STABILIZES OPERATION

Bombardier Transportation spokeswoman Maryanne Roberts confirmed the company has about 300 employees in Plattsburgh at present. She said the 100 or so workers laid off when problems arose with parts for railcars for the Chicago Transit Authority have since been brought back to work.

North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said the contract is great news for Bombardier and the North Country and caps a year of intensive effort. "We are pleased to work actively on Bombardier's behalf in Albany and Washington, building awareness of such contract opportunities and maximizing support. The governor's team has been intensely interested in Bombardier's future," he said by email.

He called Congressman Bill Owens, Sen. Betty Little and Assemblywoman Janet Duprey "great champions all along the way."

The work will not only stabilize the Plattsburgh operation but start to position it as an even greater part of the North Country economy, Douglas said.

PRIORITY PROJECT

Last fall, the North Country Regional Economic Development Council identified expanded operations at Bombardier as a "priority project" for the region.

"That was directly linked to our knowledge of this pending opportunity and two others now in play, and our confidence that success was going to be achieved this year," Douglas said.

The possible expansion was awarded $2.5 million from Empire State Development when the Regional Economic Development Council funding decisions were announced late last year. The proposal included an investment of up to $25 million by Bombardier.

Roberts said the company is still reviewing that plan, and a decision will be based on the company's ability to secure future orders.

LOWEST BID

Proposals considered by the authority came from Bombardier Transportation and ALSKAW LLC, which includes ALSTOM and Kawasaki. After studying each company's technical qualifications and best and final offers, New York City transit staff recommended the authority accept Bombardier's proposal.

Bombardier's final offer, which was 18.5 percent less than the authority's in-house estimate, came in $57.5 million lower than ALSKAW's.

The capital award value of the contract, including bid, bid contingency, design, in-house and consultant construction administration and NYC transit force account labor, totals $735.6 million, $12.4 million under the capital budget funding.

The contract includes an agreement to make parts available for 20 years after the warranty for the last car delivered has expired.

'SUSTAINED PRESENCE'

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said the contract is fantastic news for Bombardier, its workers and North Country manufacturing.

"The lifeblood of New York City's subway system will continue to be pumped straight out of the North Country, thanks to this federally supported MTA investment," he said in an email.

"I want to thank MTA for their wise investment in upstate New York and am confident straphangers will be riding first class thanks to the work of Bombardier's top-notch employees."

Owens said he was excited to hear the announcement and hopes it does lead the company to grow in Plattsburgh.

"I'm delighted Bombardier is going to see a sustained presence in Plattsburgh," he said.

Little said she was thrilled the Metropolitan Transit Authority once again chose Bombardier to manufacture subway cars.

"I praise Gov. Cuomo for leading the charge in funding the MTA capital plan and opening New York's doors to business once again, helping companies across the state have the tools they need to grow and create jobs. This is great news for a great workforce and a tremendous economic boost for Plattsburgh and the North Country region," she said.

HUNDREDS OF JOBS

Duprey thanked Cuomo and Lhota for their leadership and hard work.

"This announcement builds on the job-creating, economy-growing measures that Gov. Cuomo and the legislature agreed upon this week. By investing an additional $600 million right here in Plattsburgh, the MTA is continuing to support hundreds of jobs in the North Country and ensure our region's economy remains vibrant," she said.

City of Plattsburgh Mayor Donald Kasprzak said the announcement was tremendous news for the entire region.

"I appreciate the efforts of everyone for their involvement in the long-term success of Bombardier with these contracts," he said. "This just solidifies Bombardier's presence in the North Country."

Email Dan Heath at:

dheath@pressrepublican.com