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Metra today issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the design and production of new rail cars as part of the agency's 10-year, $2.4 billion modernization plan. The agency is seeking a firm to manufacture up to 367 new rail cars over seven years, with 10 cars to be purchased this year. A pre-proposal conference for the RFP will be held on March 3 in Chicago, according to a Metra press release.Adopted by Metra's board in 2014, the agency's modernization plan calls for the purchase of new rail cars and locomotives and seeks funding for the rehabilitation of the 49th Street Shop and the costs to install positive train control. The plan calls for the purchase 367 new rail cars. The last time Metra received new rail cars for lines other than the Metra Electric was in 2006."This is a major step forward as we begin the second year of our long-range rolling stock plan – the first in Metra history," said Metra Chairman Martin Oberman. "Replacing and rehabilitating railcars and locomotives will help Metra to continue to provide high-quality, reliable and comfortable service to customers for years to come."Metra officials anticipate the modernization plan will be paid for with state and federal sources, along with $400 million in Metra borrowing and possibly new financing strategies and alternative financing mechanisms.The agency’s 2016 budget includes funding to begin purchasing 10 new rail cars. If state funding becomes available, under this new contract as many as 106 new cars could be delivered between 2018 and 2019, and 261 cars additional cars could be delivered between 2020 and 2024, Metra officials said.Another RFP for new locomotives is expected to be issued when funding for those engines is secured and allocated, they said.
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