Supes OK $1.2 billion Muni train contract

San Francisco officials have approved a $1.2 billion dollar contract that some are calling a once-in-a-generation investment into The City’s transportation system.

The Board of Supervisors approved the billion-dollar contract Tuesday that would allow the Municipal Transportation Agency to purchase up to 260 new light-rail vehicles for the Central Subway and to meet expansion needs.

Siemens Industry Inc., will manufacture the new light-rail vehicles in Sacramento, according to transit officials.

Last week, the board’s budget committee unanimously approved the contract. Supervisor London Breed said last week that the new vehicles will help alleviate some of the maintenance and overcrowding issues that she said Muni riders are too familiar with.

Supervisor Scott Wiener said on his Facebook Tuesday that multiple light-rail vehicles had broken down during a one-hour period. He said it was unacceptable:

“As these new vehicles roll out, we will address perhaps the most significant factor in Muni’s lack of reliability – not enough light rail vehicles and vehicles that break down frequently.”

A Budget and Legislative Analyst report said that the transit agency spent $33.9 million on repair costs between January and June on the its current light-rail vehicle fleet.

Transit Director John Haley said 50 percent of delays are because of mechanical issues.

Haley said the new vehicles will be more reliable and less moving parts specifically in the door system.

He said the first prototype should arrive in December 2016. The first 24 trains will arrive between 2017 and 2018 before the $1.6 billion Central Subway opens in 2019 — Muni’s extension of the T-Third line, which will travel to Chinatown.

The transit agency said it will start to replace its current fleet in 2021. The SFMTA still needs to identify $235 million to purchase an additional 45 vehicles to meet expansion growth in the future.