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The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) yesterday announced a major expansion of the Muni rail fleet with the $210 million purchase of 40 additional Siemens light-rail vehicles.The purchase is in addition to the 175 Muni next-generation vehicles approved last year. The new cars are being acquired to add capacity as the city's population and Muni ridership continue to grow, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee said in a press release.SFMTA's board last week voted to proceed with a contract option to purchase the 40 vehicles. It is anticipated that the board and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) will secure funding in the coming weeks.SFMTA will seek up to $153 million in California cap-and-trade funds and funding authority from the board for $57 million. If the cap-and-trade funds request is not met, the MTC is expected to partner with the SFMTA to guarantee funds to bridge the gap, agency officials said.The option to purchase the 40 cars is the first of two options for an additional 85 cars, bringing the overall total to 260 cars."Purchasing new Muni vehicles is the most significant thing we can do to improve transit service," said SFMTA Chairman Tom Nolan. "The existing [light-rail vehicles] have failures every 5,500 miles. Conversely, the new trains are projected to travel up to 59,000 miles before the first needed repair."
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