The MBTA plans to spend $811 million to procure 102 “supercars,” which would begin to replace its aging Green Light fleet over the next decade.
The contract, approved by the Board of Directors this week, was touted by transit leadership as “a historic moment” for the MBTA, albeit one that was heavily overshadowed by the release of a scathing federal report highlighting an abundance of safety issues throughout the system.
MBTA General Manager Jeffrey Gonneville said the vision for the new Type 10 supercars, which will replace Type 7 and 8 cars that went into service between 1986 and 2007, has been in the works since 2018, and since evolved to become part of the T’s Green Line Transformation Program.
“(It) really is that first moment, this catalyst of really beginning to transform what is frankly the oldest subway system in the United States, at least the oldest continuous subway system in the United States, to really a modern system,” Gonneville said.
“This is a historic moment for the MBTA and certainly something all of us internally are really excited about,” he added.
The MBTA received three bids for the project, and ultimately selected CAF USA, Inc., the same company chosen to deliver 24 Type 9 light rail train cars for the Green Line, which will continue to be used alongside the new supercars.
Car shell manufacturing and assembly, and truck frame assembly will occur at CAF’s factory in Elmira, N.Y., but truck frame manufacturing will take place in Spain, according to a project presentation.
Following a design phase that will begin this year, four pilot cars will be delivered in 2026. The first electric multiple unit production vehicles will arrive in the spring of 2027, at a required rate of two per month until the spring of 2031, according to MBTA Chief of Capital Transformation Angel Pena.
William Wolfgang, the T’s director of vehicle engineering, said the new Type 10s, at 114 feet long, are 40 feet longer than the Type 7 and 8 vehicles they will be replacing.
A single supercar will provide the same capacity as a two-car train set on those existing legacy vehicles, which will also reduce the required amount of operations staff.
The new cars are also safer, he said, as they will be built to reduce the risk of fatalities or serious injuries in crashes.
MassDOT Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler said the T plans to pay for the Type 10s with a combination of state funds, through the Masstrack and transportation bond bills. The MBTA also plans to pursue a grant from the Federal Transit Administration.
“I can’t overstate the significance for the future of the Green Line this investment, and that there are ample state and federal resources hopefully on the way to help with this,” Tesler said.