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The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the design and construction of at least 256 new 8000-series rail cars.The new units would allow WMATA to retire 2000- and 3000-series cars, which are nearing the end of their 40-year service life, according to a WMATA press release. Options in a potential contract would allow WMATA to purchase up to 800 cars in total. That would provide flexibility to expand all trains to a maximum eight-car length, run trains more frequently during rush hour and retire the 6000-series fleet in lieu of a midlife overhaul, WMATA officials said.The agency is seeking proposals for units that include digital advertising screens, power outlets for charging electronics, additional handholds and improvements to lighting.Proposals are due in late January, with a contract expected to be awarded late next year. The new units would be delivered as soon as 2024.WMATA plans to fund the procurement with dedicated capital dollars from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., said General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul Wiedefeld.