MBTA general manager reportedly backing Keolis to run commuter rail

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After months of tightly guarded review, the general manager of the MBTA plans to recommend dropping the T’s long-time commuter rail operator and awarding the billion-dollar contract to the French firm Keolis, two people briefed on the decision said Friday.

The recommendation, for the largest operating contract in state history, would still require a vote from the board of directors that oversees the MBTA and state Department of Transportation. The board is scheduled to meet Wednesday.

“Keolis has been selected. The one thing remaining is the board approval,” said one of the people briefed on the deal, who was not authorized to comment. “The T board is the wild card.”

The proposed deal — to begin once the current contract expires at the end of June — calls for an eight-year term with the possibility of multiple two-year options after that, said the person, who added that MBTA General Manager Beverly A. Scott personally took part in negotiations with Keolis executives in Boston earlier this week.

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