FORT EDWARD — Rail manufacturing is not coming to Fort Edward after all.
Bombardier and CRRC’s proposal to build rail cars here was not accepted by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The companies were notified in late August that their proposal was not going forward to the final round of the bidding process.
“It’s too bad. It was going to be good for the community and the whole area,” said Supervisor Mitch Suprenant. “It would’ve put a lot of people back to work.”
The loss means the property also won’t have a tax assessment close to what it had when General Electric used the site.
“I feel really concerned about Fort Edward. They’ve got quite an issue there,” said county Board of Supervisors Chairman Bob Henke. “It’s going to be quite a tax burden shift onto homeowners ... I think it’s a real tragedy. It seemed like that was a perfect, perfect fit down there.”
Now, economic development officials are moving on. They’ve already found another company that might be interested in the former General Electric dewatering site. Suprenant sent a letter of support on Sept. 1.
“It is what it is. We’ll work on getting someone else in there,” he said.
The site still has all the infrastructure that supported GE’s dredging program. It has railroad sidings, natural gas, electricity and sewer and water lines.
CRRC had proposed building rail cars at the site, supported by Bombardier in Plattsburgh and CRRC’s manufacturing plant in Springfield, Massachusetts.
A source there confirmed that CRRC had lost the rail car bid but asked for anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press.
Officials at Bombardier openly said they’d lost the joint bid with CRRC and took full responsibility for it.
CRRC has successfully won several rail car bids recently and is speeding up the opening of its Springfield plant. But at Bombardier, workers have struggled to complete two recent rail car contracts on time.
Benoit Brossoit, president of Bombardier Transport’s Americas division, castigated workers in a memo.
He said they lost the bid because of their “poor performance and the major delays” on a previous New York City rail car project.
That “sealed the fate of our bid,” he said in a memo first published by Le Journal de Montréal. A spokeswoman for Bombardier said the memo had been written by Brossoit.
“Our actions have exacerbated an already difficult mobility environment in New York City, and our client’s decision demonstrates that the market is no longer willing to accept delays in the performance and to withstand the impact of our shortcomings,” he wrote.
Bombardier spokeswoman Maryanne Roberts defended the company.
“We have so many contracts around the world. There will be some that are behind schedule, some that are ahead of schedule,” she said.
But Bombardier was years late on its last New York City project in 2012, and she acknowledged that problem.
“Bombardier is undergoing a five-year transformation,” she said. “We’re addressing a lot of issues that have gone on in the past and making sure we’re better and stronger, going forward.”
The company has been making rail cars for New York City since 1981, she added.
“We can’t win them all, but it was disappointing,” she said.