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October 18, 2012

NYC officials tour Bombardier

City transit heads take in railcar operation first-hand

PLATTSBURGH — Two New York City officials got a first-hand glimpse of the manufacture of railcars that are so important to Greater Metropolitan Area and its suburbs.

Metropolitan Transit Authority Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota and New York City Transit President Thomas Prendergast toured the Bombardier Transportation manufacturing plant in the City of Plattsburgh Tuesday afternoon.

The plant has supplied the MTA with thousands of railcars since it opened in 1995.

“It’s great to be here. There is a very long, long relationship between the MTA and Bombardier,” Lhota said.

He said the first cars made in Plattsburgh were for the MTA. It is an example an upstate-downstate relationship that has worked well, Lhota said.

“I look forward to maintaining that relationship.”

NEW YORK JOBS

The authority’s job seeking funding in Albany is easier if it can say it supports jobs in New York state, Lhota said. More than 400 employees work at the plant in Plattsburgh.

“I take great pride in anything I can do to create jobs in New York state,” Lhota said.

Prendergast said Bombardier has demonstrated the ability to create a world-class manufacturing facility in a relatively short period of time. He said it is part of a move to foster railcar manufacturing in the United States.

“They’ve shown they can bring it back here,” he said.

QUALITY WORK

The company celebrated production of its 3,000th railcar in 2012. Lhota said about 2,000 of those cars have gone to the MTA.

He said he noticed the quality-control procedures that are in place in Plattsburgh. That is key for an authority like the MTA, he said, which has many lines that run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The relationship between the MTA and Bombardier in Plattsburgh will be bolstered by an order for 300 railcars, valued at nearly $600 million, signed earlier this year. That was followed by an order for up to 775 metro cars, valued at $1.5 billion, for San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit.

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