Officials for the Metropolitan Transit System and the Argentinean City of Mendoza will sign an agreement to finalize the sale of 24 additional San Diego Trolley U-2 model light-rail transit vehicles for $5.1 million.
Taking part in the signing ceremony are Dr. Diego Martinez Palau, Secretary of Transportation of the City of Mendoza, Chairman of the MTS Board of Directors Harry Mathis, San Diego County Supervisor and MTS Vice Chairman Ron Roberts, and MTS Chief Executive Officer Paul Jablonski.
"The sale of these cars will mark the beginning a new legacy for our trendsetting Blue Line Trolley operations," said Mathis. "They have been the workhorse for one of our nation’s most successful light rail systems. Now these beautiful and durable cars, which have become icons of successful light rail systems, will live on, serving the transportation needs of the people in Mendoza, Argentina.
MTS is more than half way through a program to replace the U-2 cars with new low-floor vehicles, manufactured by Siemens in Sacramento, California. MTS is purchasing 65 of the new low-floor cars, which will operate on all Trolley lines.
Mendoza has now purchased 35 cars from MTS for the new light rail line that connects five urban areas around the City of Mendoza.
An Argentinean delegation came to San Diego to sign the agreement and inspect the vehicles. Also representing the group were Dr. Francisco Losada, General Director of the Empresa Provincial de Transporte de Mendoza (the light rail operator), Ruben Carniello, Assistant Director of Empresa Provincial de Transporte de Mendoza, and Omar Garcia, Maintenance Supervisor.
MTS will begin to ship the cars to Mendoza later this year. The cars are expected to go by truck to Houston, by boat to Santiago, Chile, and then by truck the remaining distance to Mendoza.
MTS has begun to operate its new low-floor cars on the Green Line, which was extended earlier this month from Old Town to downtown. Low-floor cars will begin to operate on the Orange Line in early 2013 and on the Blue Line in mid-2014.
The purchase of the new rail cars is part of $720 million project to improve stations from Old Town to the international border at San Ysidro and to improve track, switches, signaling, communication, overhead electric wire and freight capacity. It is funded by a combination of money from Transnet, State of California Propositions 1A and 1B, and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.