Ansaldo Breda Light Rail Cars
AnsaldoBreda benefits from weak job market- promises to build manufacturing plant and add 600-800 jobs.
The MTA awarded rail car manufacturer AnsaldoBreda (AB), a subsidiary of Italy based Finmeccanica, a deal to build 100 additional rail cars for LA's light rail system. LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa lauded the decision as a way to bring clean/green manufacturing jobs to Los Angeles and for the city to be the "center for rail car manufacturing for virtually every transit system in the entire western hemisphere". The 240,000 sq. ft facility would be built near 15th and Santa Fe on 14 acres of city owned property.
Controversy had shadowed the deal for several months as AB's performance has been in question. According to MTA officials, AB had been 3 years late in delivering rail cars on previous contracts and the cars have been 6,000 pounds overweight. Art Leahy, the MTA's chief executive favored competition from other sources including Siemens but AB has indicated that Finmeccanica, AB's parent company, has promised establishing a $300 million performance bond that in essence guarantees that penalties will be paid if the cars do not meet performance requirements. The LA Times noted that Cecelia Estolano, chief executive of the Community Redevelopment agency said that AB will be paying a "living wage". AB's chief executive, President Giancarlo Fantappie said that the MTA set very tough terms but that the move to Los Angeles would position company to compete for future contracts.