The Maryland Transit Administration has reached a contract agreement with Bombardier Transit Corp. of Montreal to provide 54 multilevel rail cars for the MARC commuter train service at a cost of $153 million.
MTA spokesman Terry Owens said Thursday that MARC intended to retire 38 older rail cars, which are at the end of their useful life cycle, and to expand the fleet by 16 cars. Such a move could help relieve the overcrowding that has affected riders' comfort.
Delivery will not necessarily come soon. In past MARC procurements, it has taken years to go from purchase agreement to the start of actual service.
But the MTA said that by piggybacking on an order by New Jersey Transit, it will cut an estimated nine months to a year off the bid solicitation process.
The federal government is expected to pay 80 percent of the purchase price, with the state covering the remaining 20 percent, according to the MTA.