Buy-America policies, a self-inflicted trade embargo, makes it very difficult for transit agencies to get rolling stock on the Global Market. Having no domestic passenger railcar industry doesn’t help either.
Case in point: Amtrak California. They have funds in hand, but it will take years to acquire new bi-level rolling stock. In the meantime, what can they do?
The idea of spending millions of dollars retrofitting cars from the 1960′s is absurd. Deacdes ago I rode those cars as a kid, and even back then they seemed antiquated.
I can think of only one historical analog: Cuba’s fleet of antique automobiles.