Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld informed board members of the decision in a letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post.
Terms of the contract have not been finalized, and Metro declined to comment further because the two sides are in negotiations.
“The 8000-Series rail car procurement process remains active, and we are unable to comment at this stage of the process,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said. “We are excited to share information with Metro riders as soon as a contract is awarded.”
Metro plans to order 256 cars, with an option to purchase up to 800. The transit agency told bidders that it will incentivize the building of a local assembly plant for the project, which could potentially last beyond the transit agency’s contract and become a source of new rail cars and jobs for years.
Hitachi Global is a more than 100-year-old Japan-based corporation with rail subsidiaries based across the world. Its main rail headquarters is in Italy. The Washington-based limited liability corporation is a new entity. Records show that the LLC was founded and based in Medley, Fla., in May 2019, according to business data provider Dun & Bradstreet. The lone employee listed in records is Giampaolo Nuonno, the chief executive of Hitachi Rail USA.
Metro’s long search for a manufacturer of the 8000 Series has been an eventful one, marked by protests from lobbyist groups, overtures from a controversial Chinese rail manufacturer and even the passage of a federal law that limited who the transit agency could partner with for the deal.
The new cars will be Metro’s eighth iteration rail car since the system opened 44 years ago. In selecting Hitachi Rail, Metro is turning to a familiar maker. Three of its first four models of rail cars were built by