By Bob Katzen

The MBTA unveiled the first two newly-manufactured Orange Line vehicles at a ceremony at the Springfield headquarters of China RailwayRollingstock Corporation (CRRC), the manufacturer hired to build more than 400 subway cards subway cars for the T. According to the MBTA, the new vehicles incorporate designs that accommodate improved passenger comfort, new technology that provides important customer-facing information and cutting-edge accessibility features, such as platform gap mitigation devices.

“Since taking office, our administration has prioritized improving the core infrastructure of the T and over the next five years, the T is planning to invest $8 billion to continue these efforts,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “By completely replacing the fleets of the Orange and Red lines, and significantly upgrading signals, the T will improve reliability for riders, and we are proud to celebrate the delivery of the first new Orange Line cars today.”

“Our pride is strong as we deliver on-time to America’s first transit system CRRC’s first subway cars built in the United States by talented workers standing with us today,” said CRRC Chairman and President Jia Bo. “We have taken the importance of transportation in the region as a path to introduce local rail car manufacturing where hundreds of jobs have been created stimulating the local economy. Our achievements prove the existence of well-nourished partnerships born from mutual cooperation and respect. We look forward to building CRRC’s presence in the United States using our journey here in Massachusetts as the footprint to success.”

Not so fast. Not everyone is celebrating. Rep. Shawn R. Dooley (R-Norfolk) said he will file legislation in the next session to prevent further purchases of transit rail cars from the CRRC by the T.

“I can say I was alarmed by the scope of the recent Marriott data breach and cyberattack by China but I can’t say I was all that surprised,” said Dooley. “What is surprising, and what should be alarming, is that the T is making huge purchases from CRRC, a company owned and controlled by the same Chinese government that just perpetrated this massive attack. Everyone knows that China plays the long game and that their laying the groundwork for control of vital transportation and distribution channels could have dire consequences if their actions turn hostile. The T needs to stop subsidizing such an aggressive adversary, especially one that just stole 500 million consumer data files.”

“The sophistication of the Chinese effort is no better illustrated by the insidiousness of how it has lured the T as an ally,” said Dooley. “The Chinese government puts up the capital to locate a manufacturing facility in the commonwealth, undercuts legitimate free market-based competition and lands a huge contract worth hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars under the guise of being a local company. It’s a ruse and nothing more than what a powerful and well-funded espionage actor does.”

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