U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was in Sacramento today promoting President Obama's vision for high-speed rail during a tour of the Sacramento Siemens locomotive plant and in a meeting with California-based manufacturers. Secretary LaHood discussed with suppliers how to maximize the economic impact of the nearly $800 million in next-generation American-made trains being built and purchased this year.
"California's investments in high-speed rail are creating jobs for American workers today and building a strong foundation for California's economic future," said Secretary LaHood. "This is exactly what President Obama was talking about when he laid out his blueprint for an economy that's built to last -- an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers and a renewal of American values."
Secretary LaHood began the day by touring a Siemens locomotive and passenger car manufacturing plant in Sacramento that is building next-generation locomotives. In late 2010, Siemens won a $466 million contract to supply Amtrak with 70 electric locomotives that will run throughout the Northeast and Keystone corridors. The order was funded through the Federal Railroad Administration's Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) program. Siemens is adding 200 new manufacturing jobs in Sacramento and creating additional jobs in several communities around the country.
After the factory tour, Secretary LaHood met with California-based manufacturers and suppliers at the Next Generation Rail Supply Chain Connectivity Forum, hosted by the Department of Commerce and the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a U.S. DOT partner in implementing its "Buy America" standard.
Through a "Buy America" approach to construction, the Obama Administration is ensuring that high-speed rail projects are built with American-made products. In addition, 30 rail companies from around the world have pledged that if selected for high-speed rail contracts, they will hire American workers and expand their bases of operation in the United States.
The forum was held to attract U.S. manufacturers to the supply base for next-generation rail equipment being procured in the United States and facilitate connections between rail industry Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and a broader domestic supply base, to include both traditional and non-traditional rail suppliers.
"This will help ensure that when we invest in transportation, American companies and workers will benefit," said Secretary LaHood. "Not only are we improving how we move people and goods, but we are connecting people who need work with the work we need to do."
California's highways are among the most congested in the nation, costing residents and businesses in Los Angeles and San Francisco alone nearly $13.5 billion in 2010. The stress on the state's infrastructure will become even more pronounced during the next 40 years, as its population will grow by more than 20 million people. Without constructing the high-speed rail system, the California High-Speed Rail Authority estimates that California would need to invest $171 billion to acquire the equivalent level of capacity--2,300 miles of new highways, 115 new airport gates, and four new airport runways.
California's passenger rail system is one of several regional networks planned across the United States. To date, the U.S. Department of Transportation has invested $10.1 billion to put American communities on track toward new and expanded rail access and improved reliability, speed, and frequency of existing service.