The MBTA has budgeted $1.3-1.5 billion to purchase 226 railcars for the Red and Orange lines. If you do the math, that is over $5.75 million apiece!
Why so much? Because Gov. Patrick insists they be assembled in Massachusetts — even though the State has no passenger railcar industry:
Gov. Deval Patrick expressed his preference Thursday that whichever company gets the $1.5 billion contract to build new Red Line and Orange Line cars for the MBTA that the cars be assembled in Western Massachusetts.
The factory could have 150 to 300 employees.
“As governor, I have to love the whole state,” said Patrick during a meeting with the editorial board of MassLive.com and The Republican editorial board . But Patrick said he would like to see the cars assembled in Western Massachusetts. He added though, that he is “agnostic” about which city in the region would get the project.
“That’s why it is important that the decision is made while I’m still in office,” said Patrick, whose term ends at the end of the year.
The Governor seems to have learned nothing from the recent Hyundai-Rotem debacle. As you may recall, the MBTA had Hyundai set up a special factory to manufacture some commuter railcars, Those railcars turned out to be very expensive and unreliable. And now they are going to use the same approach for the subway car order.
And even looking at this as a jobs program (instead of transit project), the cost-benefit is horrible. Massachusetts will pay at least $3 million extra per railcar, which works out to $2 million per employee.