MTA buys into AnsaldoBreda deal

Mayor Villaraigosa and the unions got their way — the Italian rail car builder with the spotty record will now be the provider of choice for L.A.'s transit future. The plus side is that AnsaldoBreda will erect and occupy a plant near Downtown that Villaraigosa holds out as the centerpiece of a clean industry corridor. The minus side is, if you remove the politics and the promise of jobs, apparently no one at MTA — including chief executive Art Leahy — felt AnsaldoBreda was very qualified.

"The MTA's return to sleaze once again has hung the taxpayers out to dry by selling out to the incompetent highest bidder," [county Supervisor Mike] Antonovich said. "Breda has failed to deliver on time in two previous MTA contracts, and the current contract is already three years behind schedule in delivering certified rail cars."

The negotiations dragged on for months because of the MTA staff's frustration with the firm's work under its base contract for 50 cars. In the new deal, AnsaldoBreda must reduce the weight of its cars, which are 6,000 pounds too heavy, and make them compatible with the rest of the fleet.

Good enough for the Villaraigosa team. Oh by the way, AnsaldoBreda's plant will be built by Shangri-La Construction, which until recently employed Villaraigosa's chief deputy mayor, Jay Carson.

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