PITTSBURG — In a boon for the Bay Area, the company manufacturing BART’s new train cars announced Friday it would open a plant in the East Bay city of Pittsburg.
Representatives from the Canadian-based Bombardier, Inc. said the move will allow the company to free up space at its plant in Plattsburgh, New York, where the cars are currently built, for new and upcoming East Coast orders, while moving some of its West Coast contracts to Pittsburg.
In addition to the BART cars, Bombardier has contracts to maintain the AirTrain system at the San Francisco International Airport, the new commuter rail fleet for Los Angeles area’s Metrolink service and the Coast and Sprinter train cars for the North County Transit District in San Diego. It’s also in the early stages of bringing a new, automated people mover to the Los Angeles International Airport, representatives from Bombardier said.
The first trains to come out of the Pittsburg assembly line, however, will be BART’s new train cars. BART is the process of replacing its 669 cars with 775 new ones. As of February, it had 60 new cars on hand, with 100 more due to arrive by February next year. Construction of the cars is expected to be transferred from Plattsburgh to Pittsburg within the next several months.
The new West Coast operation provides jobs for about 500 employees in California, Bombardier said, which will help BART meet federal “Buy American” requirements that mandate the use of US-produced materials for a certain portion of federally-funded projects. In a statement, Elliot Lee Sander, president of the American division for Bombardier, said the company’s move to the Golden State also benefited from the California Competes Tax Credit, an income tax credit for businesses that are expanding or relocating here.
“We are pleased that the new rail cars for Bay Area passengers will now be produced in the Bay Area by Bay Area citizens,” Sander said. “The Pittsburg site will also enable Bombardier to pursue additional business opportunities in the growing rail transit equipment market on the West Coast and to serve this market with increased effectiveness.”