Nebraska plant to get $3.6B contract for NYC subway cars

FeaturesAssociated Press

A railway car plant in Lincoln, Nebraska, is poised to secure a large portion of a $3.6 billion contract to produce New York City subway cars.

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is expected to vote Wednesday on Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing's contract to build more than 1,600 new subway cars. Kawasaki was the only company being considered for the contract after the transportation authority dropped a joint bid last year from Bombardier and a Chinese company.

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The contract is made up of a $1.4 billion base order of 535 subway cars, for delivery by July 2020. There are options to add more than 1,000 cars, bringing the total project cost to more than $3.6 billion.

The company would manufacture at least 20 open gangway cars that allow passengers to move between them. The cars would have features for safety and modernization, such as wider doors, digital screens and on-board computers to track the car's condition and performance.

Most of the manufacturing would be completed at the Lincoln plant, said Jason Hellbusch, a spokesman for Kawasaki. A facility in Yonkers, New York, would work on final assembly and testing, he said.

"A contract of this magnitude is obviously an extremely positive circumstance for Kawasaki, its work force and the surrounding communities," Hellbusch said. "The economic impact on the state of Nebraska could be felt for years to come."

Kawasaki's employs about 2,200 employees in Lincoln, with about 650 workers in the railcar division. The company also has a consumer products division, which makes personal watercraft and recreational vehicles, as well as an aerospace division, which makes parts for Boeing jetliners.

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