METRO Gets Money Back From Spanish Rail Car Supplier

METRO has officially received a 14-million-dollar refund from a Spanish-owned rail car vendor. The agency says the settlement will help move its rail projects forward. Wendy Siegle reports.
The transit authority had hired rail car supplier CAF to build 103 light rail cars for the North and Southeast rail lines. But last December METRO had to cancel the contract after the Federal Transit Administration said the deal violated federal purchasing laws and Buy America rules. That has stalled $900 million dollars in federal grants. George Greanias is METRO’s president and CEO.

“The Federal Transit Administration made it clear that unless we terminated the CAF contract and purchased cars under a new program that they were comfortable with we would not be eligible for the full funding grant.”

METRO has been able to recover $14 million dollars of the $41 million it had already paid to CAF. Greanias says the money will go toward repurchasing the light rail cars.

“We just issued a notice over the weekend that we’re going to be going out to take bids on rail cars. And we’ve been working very closely with the Federal Transit Administration to make sure that every step in the process that we’re going through right now meets with their approval.”

Earlier this week the Obama Administration submitted its proposed budget for fiscal year 2012. It includes $200 million dollars for the North and Southeast rail lines.