BART to build its ‘Fleet of the Future' train cars at Pittsburg factory

A big boost to Bay Area manufacturing was launched in the East Bay Friday by the company building BART's massive new fleet of rail transit cars.

As more and more rail systems are built or expanded on the West Coast, BART's Canadian supplier has set up shop right here where rail cars have been built and expanded for decades.

Not only does public transit bring people to jobs, it brings jobs to people," said Lee Sander, CEO of rail car builder Bombardier Americas Transportation.

BART and train manufacturer Bombardier made an announcement about using a factory in the Contra Costa County city of Pittsburg.

A special "California Competes" tax credit paved the way. "We have begun preparing the site and expect to be working on the first cars for BART in September," said Sander.

551 of the of the original 775 cars ordered, will be built in Pittsburg. But, BART plans to build another 400 cars after that, which would also be built here, which means that the initial 50 people hired will simply be inadequate.

The Pittsburg factory could become a major jobs creator.

"It's Bay Area workers building cars for Bay Area commuters. We're bringing the work home," said BART board member Mark Foley.

"Bringing jobs is a novel concept to east county. Normally we have to participate elsewhere in our workforce and go and travel, sometimes hours," said East Bay Assemblyman Jim Frazier (D) Pittsburg.

"By providing livable jobs where people actually work, where the workforce is located, it actually relieves pressure off of our infrastructure and our highways," said East Bay Assemblyman Tim Grayson (D) Concord.

With the  BART fleet being built in the Bay Area, cross country trucking of finished cars from upstate New York will be no more.

Bombardier has bigger plans, eventually requiring even more workers here. "The site will enable us to pursue other business opportunities in the growing rail transit equipment market on the West Coast," said Sander.

"This is an anchor for so many other opportunities for suppliers to come and to be able to work with Bombardier delivering a product that they may need on time," said Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover.

Though BART's train cars have been delayed in the past, Bombardier and BART say they are now on a schedule which they can meet.