Los Angeles buys them for $85,000 apiece. Detroit pays $84,000. Closer to home, a major New York hospital system spends less than $80,000. But the New York City Fire Department has them all beat, spending more $133,000 each for custom-made ambulances — all 480 of them. At $65 million, the department’s new contract to replace its front-line fleet over five years is the largest and most costly municipal ambulance purchase in United States history, according to industry executives. The five-year contract was approved in June and the new ambulances have begun to roll in. At a time when budget cuts are closing firehouses, curbing daily ambulance runs and delaying construction of new emergency medical stations, the pricey ambulance purchases raise this question: What is New York getting for its money that other big cities are not? Full Story
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