During a meeting Thursday, METRO Board of Directors gave the green light to purchase 39 light-rail vehicles for the lines currently under construction from CAF USA, a subsidiary of Spain's Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles.
The new contract would overwrite the previous one that raised red flags with the Federal Transit Administration. Earlier this month, METRO had agreed to buy the rail cars from CAS, but the federal agency claimed that the deal bypassed numerous federal rules aimed at protecting taxpayer dollars from getting sent overseas.
Federal authorities told METRO if it still wanted federal funding for the rail lines, it had to re-bid out the building of the light rail cars by following protocol. CAS then placed its new bid of $153.1 million and METRO accepted the offer.
"The proposal submitted by CAF USA was the best value for the New METRO and it is fully compliant with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Buy America," said METRO Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia in a press release issued Thursday.
According to the release, the Federal Transit Administration is OK with the deal as long as METRO meets the following stipulations:
- METRO would successfully negotiate termination of the former CAF contract
- Develop an FTA-approved acquisition plan in full compliance with all FTA requirements including Buy America
- Develop an FTA-approved source selection plan disclosing all evaluation factors, their relative importance, and the basis for any award
- Prepare an FTA-approved solicitation for the procurement of 39 LRV's Last year, the FTA determined the prior METRO administration had not followed appropriate procurement policies in the former CAF contract.