AMID charges of favouritism and political interference, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority on March 19 cancelled a $236m order for 104 stainless steel commuter cars from the Rotem-led United Transit Systems consortium.

Septa board Chairman Pasquale Deon blamed the potential cost of defending a lawsuit brought by Kawasaki Rail Car, one of three unsuccessful bidders, as the reason for cancelling the deal. ’Septa is already in a severe budget crisis, and a protracted legal challenge would cost precious money and time’, he said. Septa will rebid the contract, stating from the outset that the lowest bidder will get the job rather than the company with the best technical qualifications. Both UTS and Kawasaki have confirmed that they plan to bid again. n