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U.S. manufacturers are being invited to submit proposals to build 35 high-performance, next-generation diesel-electric locomotives as part of a multi-state procurement led by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) officials announced yesterday.IDOT prepared the RFP, which covers standardized passenger-rail equipment that will be used on state corridor routes in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Iowa in the Midwest, and Washington, California, Oregon and other points on the West Coast.A manufacturer will be selected in early 2014 and the first locomotive deliveries are expected in 2016, USDOT officials said in a press release."Our Buy America provisions ensure that the major components of these locomotives will be built with American hands and with American steel, iron and manufactured goods," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.The Federal Railroad Administration has allocated $808 million to produce the next generation of passenger-rail equipment, including the 35 locomotives and 130 bi-level rail cars.The equipment will be used on state corridor routes that have experienced some of the highest passenger-rail ridership growth in recent years. Last year, Amtrak registered more than 31.2 million passengers, marking the highest annual ridership total since it began operations in 1971.The locomotives will be built to standard technical specifications developed by the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act Section 305 Next Generation Corridor Equipment Pool Committee, and will comply with the latest Environmental Protection Agency emission standards, USDOT officials said.The new uniform standards will help drive down costs and enable more manufacturers and suppliers to compete, which will help re-establish the U.S. domestic supply chain for passenger-rail equipment, they added."The need for new rail equipment has never been greater and the more than 750 railroad suppliers located in the United States are up to the job," said FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo.
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