Sumitomo bid $US 352.28m for the contract, which is due to be signed in mid-November. The coaches are scheduled to be delivered between autumn 2015 and early 2018.

"By pooling our resources, all four states involved in this partnership can purchase the equipment at lower cost because it will be acquired in high volume under one contract," explains Caltrans director Mr Malcolm Dougherty.

California will receive 42 coaches, while the Midwest Coalition, consisting of Illinois, Michigan, and Missouri, will receive 88 vehicles. Coaches delivered to California will be used on the three state-supported Amtrak inter-city routes: the Capitol Corridor (Sacramento – Oakland – San Jose); the San Joaquin (Oakland/Sacramento – Bakersfield/Southern California); and the Pacific Surfliner (San Luis Obisbo – Los Angeles – San Diego).

The Midwest Coalition will use its coaches on the following Amtrak services: Blue Water (Chicago – Port Huron), Wolverine (Chicago – Detroit – Pontiac), Pere Marquette (Chicago – Grand Rapids), Illini/Saluki (Chicago – Carbondale), Lincoln Service (Chicago – St Louis), Missouri River Runner (St Louis – Kansas City), Illinois Zephyr/Carl Sandburg (Chicago – Quincy), and future services between Chicago and Dubuque and Chicago and the Quad Cities, with potential extension to Iowa City.

Buy America laws require all of the major components to be manufactured in the United States, and the awarding agencies will carry out an audit of manufacturing and assembly facilities, which will be submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration before the contract is awarded. Assembly of the vehicles is likely to take place at Kinki Sharyo's recently-commissioned plant at Rochelle, Illinois.