LIPINSKI LEADS BIPARTISAN GROUP OF ILLINOIS REPRESENTATIVES IN URGING METRA TO SUPPORT LOCAL JOBS AND OPEN BIDDING FOR NEW LOCOMOTIVES
December 11, 2009
Seeking to protect Illinois jobs, taxpayers, commuters, and the environment, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) led a bipartisan group of eight Illinois Representatives in sending a letter to Metra today urging it to widen its search for a company to provide it with ten new passenger locomotives. Joining Lipinski in signing the letter were Representatives Mark Kirk, Bobby Rush, Donald Manzullo, Danny Davis, Bill Foster, Debbie Halvorson, and Judy Biggert.
The letter asks Metra to reconsider its recent decision to seek only multiple-engine genset locomotives instead of diesel-electric locomotives, which form the backbone of the rail agency's fleet and which are produced locally by La Grange-based Electro-Motive Diesel Inc., one of the world's largest locomotive companies.
"Instead of unnecessarily limiting its options, Metra should open up the bidding process to producers of both types of locomotives, allowing it to make the best choice for taxpayers, commuters, the environment, and Illinois workers," Congressman Lipinski said. "Otherwise, Metra will be limiting competition and increasing the possibility that it will be forced to pay more for less. Opening up the bidding process is a matter of simple fairness and basic common sense."
Metra's fleet currently consists of 163 locomotives powered by engines made by Electro-Motive Diesel, which has 1,600 salaried and union employees at its La Grange headquarters. Diesel-electric passenger locomotives have earned a strong reputation for performance, reliability, and fuel efficiency, and have become the backbone of the North American passenger and commuter rail fleet. They load quickly, thereby improving schedule time, and are environmentally friendly, emitting low levels of NOx, diesel particulates, and greenhouse gases.
Multiple-engine genset locomotives are typically limited to performing rail yard and switching operations.
Metra originally issued a Request for Proposals for ten diesel-electric locomotives. It then canceled that RFP and announced its intention to issue a new RFP for ten multiple-engine genset locomotives.
"Metra's employees are highly familiar with the operations and maintenance of diesel-electric locomotives," the letter states. "For this reason and others, the Commuter Rail Labor Association supports the purchase of diesel-electric locomotives. Given all the facts, we strongly urge Metra to include both diesel-electric passenger locomotives and multiple-engine genset locomotives in the new RFP for ten passenger locomotives."
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