• U.S.

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Buy Again

1 minute read

Maybe it wasn’t such a bad deal after all. Last December, Los Angeles awarded Japan’s Sumitomo Corp. a contract to build 41 cars for its light-rail system. A month later, the company was derailed from the $121 million contract when, in a fit of buy-American sentiment stirred in part by George Bush’s visit to Japan, the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission canceled the deal and said it would rewrite the specifications to attract a U.S. company. Last week the commission revealed the firm selected to build 15 of the new cars: Sumitomo Corp.

After considerable searching, the panel admitted, it had found no American contractor that would agree to accept the revised specs. To save face for Angelenos, the new contract includes a Sumitomo commitment to ship cars from its Nagoya factory to Los Angeles in partly completed condition — thus creating 79 assembly jobs in Los Angeles — and to spend 60% of the contract’s value in the U.S.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com