SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Springfield leaders meet with rail car maker CRRC on Wednesday after they said the MBTA outsourced a job to South Korea, rather than keeping the project close to home.
Officials told Western Mass News the issue surrounds plans to build 80 bi-level coaches, which was about a $300 million contract.
They said the MBTA awarded the sole contract to Hyundai Rotem, while CRRC's Springfield plant is the world's largest rail car manufacturer in North America.
"Part of the argument for the MBTA was that CRRC didn't have the ability to produce the cars in a timely manner. CRRC's argument is they could have made the timetable," said State Rep. Bud Williams of Springfield.
CRRC spokesperson Lydia Rivera added, "We're looking to strategize to make sure we're provided the opportunities to access rail car contracts in Massachusetts and beyond, to ensure that we continue with the robust workforce that we have present."
CRRC is current building more than 400 rail cars for the MBTA.
The company was awarded the $566 million contract to the build the new orange and red line cars in 2014.
They said since then, other orders have come in from cities across the country.
MBTA spokesperson Lisa Battiston said in a statement:
"There is an immediate demand for more capacity on the MBTA Commuter Rail system, and Hyundai-Rotem (which built the MBTA’s newest bi-level coaches) is able to deliver new coaches faster than another car maker. Other suppliers would have to go through a lengthy design review and testing process, adding two-to-three years to the delivery schedule.
In the coming months, the MBTA will be soliciting bids for two major rail car procurements: 165 Green Line cars and 100 bi-level commuter rail coaches (with two options for fifty more). The MBTA looks forward to accepting proposals from all interested rail car makers as part of these upcoming open and competitive procurements."