When Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.) visited Midwest Bus Corporation for the first time recently, he got to see the operation of one of the largest public transit bus remanufacturers in the United States.
During Peters’ visit, he observed the company processing a $40 million-plus, 155-bus project for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. For Midwest, this is the largest contract in the company’s 38-year history. Due to the size of the project, dozens of new jobs have been created. Midwest has had to bring in welders, painters, auto body workers, electricians and many other manufacturing-related positions. Because of other similar large projects for MBTA in the past – as well as the work Midwest does for its other myriad customers locally and across the country – it’s not the first time the company has had to hire large numbers of people. Its economic impact has been felt on many levels.
“Remanufacturing saves taxpayer dollars by lengthening the lifecycle of government vehicles, which is why I worked to pass a law encouraging remanufacturing in the federal fleet,” said Peters, who is the top Democrat on the Federal Spending Oversight Committee. “I am glad to see a Michigan company helping to meet the nationwide transit industry goal of ‘State of Good Repair’ while making efficient and effective use of scarce federal resources.”
Peters’ bipartisan Federal Vehicle Repair Cost Savings Act, which was signed into law in 2015, requires federal agencies to encourage the use of remanufactured parts in federal vehicle repairs when doing so lowers costs, maintains quality and performance, and does not compromise safety.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, better known as the “T,” has been remanufacturing buses over four decades to meet the goal of providing reliable, high quality services to the public. Improving on the reliability and safety of city transit buses has long been a priority for the agency, which is why it invests wisely in a regular midlife-overhaul program.
As Senator Peters learned during his visit, Midwest is celebrating 38 years of business with organizations like MBTA because it incorporates a strict three-phase process – planning, production and inspection. It also tailors its engineering to implement creative solutions for its customers as well as maintain the ability to remanufacture buses back to OEM specifications.
“It was an honor to have Senator Peters see our operation,” said Dan Morrill, owner of Midwest Bus. “It allowed us to demonstrate how we have stayed in business and grown through hard work, innovation and outstanding employees. We hope we helped provide some insight into the positive, essential, diverse impact manufacturers can have on our economy – locally, statewide and nationally.
“We have never rehabbed the same fleet for Boston twice. We’re extremely proud of the work we do for them. This contract is the seventh bid Midwest has been awarded by MBTA. We go through a strict bidding process for these projects, and we work hard to deliver a quality product. It’s a savings for their taxpayers and riders, not to mention the environment.”