If At First You Don't Succeed, Buy Again

After a rebuff, Sumitomo and Los Angeles strike a rail-car deal

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...

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