U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari spoke to Midwest-based railroad manufacturers and suppliers at a Chicago rail forum about opportunities for their companies to participate in the growing industry of next-generation, American-made trains.
"When we invest in transportation, we're preparing our infrastructure to meet the demands of moving a growing population, and manufacturers have a key role to play in that process," said Porcari. "We are investing in more than trains, tracks and ties. We are investing in a future in which businesses flourish and in which America is poised to compete and to win."
Porcari spoke at the Next Generation Rail Supply Chain Connectivity Forum held to introduce suppliers to U.S.-based manufacturers likely to bid on the nearly $800 million in upcoming next-generation train orders.
The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a part of the Department of Commerce, hosted the conference. The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) partnered with MEP to help manufacturers identify American businesses with the capacity to supply components for trains to meet the "Buy America" standards aimed at maximizing the number of jobs created through federal investments.
Investments in high-speed and intercity passenger rail will create an even greater demand for these high-value manufacturing jobs. Manufacturing accounted for 14% of all jobs created in the U.S. economy in the last 13 months, and the sector created 50,000 jobs last month alone.
The first order of next-generation trains will run throughout the Midwest network and other corridors around the country. Midwestern states are moving forward with a plan to connect their largest cities to Chicago with faster, frequent and more reliable service. This year will mark the third year of construction in the region.
With a network in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, MEP serves more than 34,000 American suppliers, helping them retool their manufacturing capabilities to meet demand, compete in the global marketplace and sell American-made products here at home. The U.S. DOT's partnership with MEP ensures that transportation projects receiving federal dollars be built with American-produced steel, iron and manufactured goods.