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Ansaldo to continue its rail work; unveils images of train cars

By Marcel Honoré

LAST UPDATED: 12:29 p.m. HST, Mar 7, 2013

Honolulu transit officials cleared the way today for Ansaldo Honolulu JV to continue its work on the train’s operating system and rail cars, despite recent financial and legal woes from the venture’s parent company, Finmeccanica.

Executives from those firms told Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation officials that Finmeccanica has rebounded from its losses in 2011, and that it has reinvested hundreds of millions of dollars into AnsaldoBreda. That partner firm in Ansaldo Honolulu JV is designing the transit line’s rail cars and has been losing money for years.

Ansaldo executives also unveiled images of Honolulu’s driverless train models today. They noted that the colors and seal on the outside of the trains were subject to change.

The executives told HART officials that the city has several layers of protection to ensure the rail contract will be fulfilled, including a strongly rated insurance bond and an obligation on the contract from Finmeccanica,   

 Should AnsaldoBreda still be unable to complete the rail cars, Ansaldo STS, the principal partner would remain responsible for the contract and “is more than capable” of carrying it out based on its financial strength, Ansaldo STS’ U.S. treasurer and vice president for administration Joseph Pozza told HART board members.

“There’s a proven track record here that people should be confident about,” HART CEO Dan Grabauskas said of the two companies. “The financial capacity of the principal company is there,” he added, referring to Ansaldo STS.

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