On Monday, the U.S. Department of Transportation hosted a roundtable discussion in Washington, D.C., with transportation, manufacturing and steel industry leaders to discuss a plan for producing steel streetcar rails in the U.S.
"The Obama Administration is committed to putting Americans back to work making the products our nation needs to compete," said Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. "We want U.S. manufacturers to supply the rails for U.S. streetcars and today's meeting was a first step toward making this a reality."
Deputy Secretary John Porcari, who led the meeting, said he hopes it will help determine the potential market size for steel rails and the level of interest among manufacturers, as well as identify obstacles that need to be addressed.
Industry experts estimate that 18,000 metric tons of steel girder rail will be needed over the next three years to meet the demand of streetcar projects being planned and built in the U.S. That amount is expected to expand to upwards of 33,000 metric tons over the coming decade.
Deputy Secretary Porcari called the meeting following a survey by the FTA and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership that indicated interest among domestic steelwork foundries in manufacturing streetcar rails.