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.
"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.
Columbus Steel Castings
Kawasaki Rail Car
Hyundai Rotem USA
National Railway Equipment Company
Safetran Systems Corporation
American Railcar Industries
A&K Railroad Materials
Cleveland Track Material, Inc
New York Air Brake
Simmons Machine Tool