$2M incentive could bring MBTA car makers to Pittsfield


February 12, 2014

The Pittsfield City Council voted unanimously last evening to approve a $1 million allocation, matching $1 million already offered by the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority (PEDA), to entice manufacturers bidding to build rail cars for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). Councilors also indicated their willingness to consider furnishing additional incentives.

Massachusetts will select a transit car maker to provide 152 new vehicles for the MBTA’s Orange and Red lines. Nine companies are vying for the estimated $850 million contract, which requires that final assembly work be completed in Massachusetts.

“I am most grateful to the Mayor and City Council for doubling the incentive to $2 million, and for their willingness to provide additional tax increment financing to encourage companies to consider Pittsfield to build these rail cars,” said Corydon Thurston, PEDA Executive Director. “This decision is a powerful statement of our desire to accommodate new business and will help mitigate the differential between new construction and retro fitting existing space.”

“Two million dollars should get their attention–and getting them to the table is our current objective,” said Thurston. “If we do that, and have the opportunity to outline all the benefits the Berkshires has to offer, I think we stand a very good chance of success.”

If chosen, Berkshire County could see the creation of up to 250 jobs during a project that will continue for at least a decade. The $2 million being offered will be drawn from the city’s Economic Development Fund and from PEDA’s financial reserves.

PEDA’s William Stanley Business Park is one of four proposed Berkshire county sites for manufacturing the cars, as each car builder will have different facility requirements. The PEDA site has a “ready-to-build” foundation of more than 120,000 sq. ft. with rail access and siding, plus 19 acres of adjacent available land in the center of Pittsfield.

PEDA has been aggressively marketing the 52-acre business park comprising nine parcels, three of which are occupied. Gold Rated by the MA Biotechnology Council, the location has also been designated for construction of a 20,000-square-foot multi-tenant life sciences facility, supported by a $6.5 million earmark in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Life Sciences Bond Bill.

The MBTA rail car makers’ proposals, which will include a designated site, must be submitted by May 1. The state is expected to award the work at the end of the year.

Learn more about the proposed site.