California will receive $168 million in federal funds to purchase next-generation, American-made trains, announced U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Wednesday. The state is one of five that will receive a total of $336.2 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding.
“Today’s announcement is all about jobs. Thanks to the leadership of the Obama Administration, these orders will pump more than three quarters of a billion dollars into the domestic manufacturing industry,” said LaHood. “And, our Buy America standard will put people to work all over the county.”
California and Illinois reached cooperative agreements with the Federal Railroad Administration to begin a multi-state procurement of equipment for passenger rail corridors in California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon and Washington State.
“Building a nationwide rail network is critical to America’s long-term economic success. More people are choosing to take the train and this year Amtrak is projected to set an all-time record by topping 30 million annual riders,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo.
Trains will be designed to travel more than 110 mph along intercity passenger corridors, and meet standards developed by the state-led, Next Generation Committee. This will provide manufacturers with consistent specifications for all passenger trains in the United States, reducing costs for manufacturers and customers, while providing a boost to the railcar manufacturing industry.
A strict “Buy America” requirement was set to ensure that U.S. manufacturers and workers receive the maximum economic benefits from this federal investment. In 2009, LaHood secured a commitment from 30 foreign and domestic rail manufacturers to employ American workers and locate or expand their base of operations in the U.S. if they are selected for high-speed-rail contracts.
In addition, in June, DOT announced a $562.9 million loan to Amtrak through FRA’s Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program to finance the purchase of 70 high-performance, electric locomotives from Siemens Industry USA, creating 250 new manufacturing jobs in California, Ohio and Georgia.