NORTH BAY – The board of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit approved a contract with Sumitomo Corp. of America to build the SMART passenger rail vehicles. Six proposals were submitted in April, and an evaluation team reviewed them for technical content as well as price. Sumitomo received the highest technical ranking and proposed a price more than $20 million below the next highest proposal at $82.7 million for an order of nine two-car trains plus an option for nine additional cars at a later date.

The contract will cover manufacture and delivery of up to 18 rail cars, a fleet of nine two-car trains, and cost $56.9 million. The draft schedule calls for the first vehicles to be delivered in October 2010 and the final vehicle in May 2014. Rail service is scheduled to begin in fall 2014. Sumitomo will build the cars at a new plant in Rochelle, Ill.