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LaHood makes another pitch for 'Buy America'


In his blog posted yesterday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood used the occasion of the Next Generation Rail Supply Chain Forum held in Kansas City, Mo., this week to again call on U.S. manufacturers to submit bids to build the first American-made, standardized passenger-rail cars.

The forum was held by the National Institute of Standards Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a U.S. Department of Commerce partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to help develop a domestic supply base to support the nation’s transportation infrastructure.

Recently, the USDOT invited U.S. manufacturers and suppliers to submit bids for the $551 million contract to build 130 bi-level, American-made rail cars. Funded by the federal High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail program, the contract will benefit Amtrak’s intercity routes in California, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, and potentially Iowa, LaHood noted.

“And, like all High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program projects, the rail car contract contains DOT’s strong ‘Buy America’ provision, which requires that all transportation projects receiving federal dollars be built with American-produced steel, iron, component parts and manufactured goods,” he states in the blog. “The average train car contains thousands of parts, so this contract could be good news for dozens — if not hundreds — of companies that could play a role in producing the pieces that make up these train cars.”

The new cars’ uniform standards will enable more manufacturers and suppliers to compete, which will help reinvigorate the nation’s passenger-rail car equipment manufacturing base, LaHood said.

“American manufacturers and American workers are crucial to building the 21st century rail system that our country needs to remain competitive,” he wrote.

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More News from 5/4/2012