32 Rail Companies Commit to Expanding in U.S. Under High-Speed Rail Plan

As the Obama administration and Congress keep a close eye on jobless numbers and the shrinking American manufacturing base, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said today that 32 rail companies that have promised to expand U.S. operations if they are chosen to help states build high-speed train networks.

c81fb568_bf48_52b2_b890_e1b187b2e90e.preview_300.jpgTransportation Secretary LaHood, at left, toured the Spanish bullet train system this year. (Photo: Pantagraph)

"Clearly there is an enormous demand for inter-city rail service in this country," LaHood told attendees at a U.S. DOT conference with business, labor, and other interests involved in high-speed rail planning. "People want an alternative to congested highways and congested airports."

Amid ongoing questions about the nation’s appetite for the lengthy process and high price tag of a successful high-speed network, LaHood pointedly predicted that lawmakers would treat the $8 billion for high-speed rail approved under this year’s stimulus law as a "down payment."

"I suspect Congress will do better than" the White House’s anticipated $1 billion annual contribution to high-speed rail over the next five years, LaHood said.

He also sought to connect the stimulus’ high-speed rail grants, the first round of which will be awarded early next year, to job creation and economic recovery.

"If this program is perceived as not creating American jobs, it’s not going to succeed," LaHood said, urging attendees of today’s high-speed rail conference to focus their attention on workers "who have been hardest hit by the recession."

Several states, including Michigan and California, have looked to emerge from the pack of high-speed rail pitches by proposing to convert shuttered auto plants into train manufacturing facilities.

"If you look at the Buy American provisions of the stimulus act, that
means we’re going to have to build the rail cars in the United States," Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) told Detroit’s WJR radio station in July. "It means we’re going to have to build a whole supply chain around those rail cars."

A complete list of the companies that have promised to build part of that supply chain in America, if their state-level partners are singled out for high-speed rail money by the U.S. DOT, follows after the jump.

GE Transportation

Wabtec

Columbus Steel Castings

Bombardier

ALSTOM

TALGO

Kawasaki Rail Car

Siemens

Hyundai Rotem USA

Motive Power

National Railway Equipment Company

CAF USA

US Railcar

Nippon Sharyo

Electro-Motive Diesel

Ansaldo STS

Lockheed Martin

Safetran Systems Corporation

Tangent Rail

Amsted Rail

AnsaldoBreda

American Railcar Industries

CXT Tie

Railroad Controls

A&K Railroad Materials

Cleveland Track Material, Inc

New York Air Brake

Plasser American

Simmons Machine Tool

Ellcon-National

Harsco Rail

ORX Railway

  • TAS

    This commitment by these firms, if honored, will prove one day to have been a huge factor in our development of a sustained American HSR network.

    The story here is American jobs. These 32 companies didn’t just agree to expand operations here, as noted in the opening paragraph; they’re really agreeing to expanding US hiring, not noted until the 6th paragraph.

    LaHood’s point is dead-on: Congress won’t sustain a HSR program if it’s simply a transfer of funds to overseas firms–not in this climate. But, if American jobs are at stake, Congress won’t be able to not sustain HSR.

    This commitment makes it impossible for Congress to pull the plug on HSR.

  • shilpa

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  • Allan

    “… if they are chosen to help states build high-speed train networks …”

    Well duh … of course they’ll expand if the business is there. They would probably also expand if Amtrak expanded its network.

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