AC Transit To Buy Buses From Hayward Firm

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Gillig factory in Hayward. (CBS)

Gillig factory in Hayward. (CBS)

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District directors have agreed to spend $16.4 million to buy up to 40 new buses from a bus manufacturing firm in Hayward, the Gillig Corp.

The purchase, approved in a 6-1 vote Wednesday night, is the bus agency’s first major vehicle order since it adopted a “Buy American Goods” policy in 2009.

The lone vote against the purchase was cast by Director Jeff Davis.

AC Transit, which carries about 200,000 passengers a day in 13 cities and unincorporated areas in western Alameda and Contra Costa counties, had been buying many of its buses from the Van Hool company in Belgium.

AC Transit will spend $8.2 million of its own funds on the new buses and the other $8.2 million will come from the State-Local Partnership Program.

Board President Elsa Ortiz, who authored the “Buy American Goods” policy, said in a statement, “I am happy that we are not only buying American, but we are buying buses made in this district.”

Ortiz said, “We don’t need to go overseas to buy buses when we have people right in our backyard who need work and are capable of making a high-quality product at a competitive price.”

A prototype of the new bus is expected to be delivered to the agency by the end of the year and several of the buses are expected to be in service early next year.

The Gillig Corp., which was founded in San Francisco in 1890, has more than 500 employees in the East Bay.

Doug Bloch, political coordinator for the Teamsters Union, which represents employees at Gillig, said, “This is great news for our workers.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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