Transportation and Infrastructure Committee ranking member Sam Graves (R-MO), Highways and Transit Subcommittee ranking member Rodney Davis (R-IL), and Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee ranking member Rick Crawford (R-AR) are calling for a review of a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) railcar contract with a Chinese state-owned company to determine if it complies with Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Buy America requirements, according to the committee's news release.
“It has come to our attention that the state-owned China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation MA (CRRC MA) is fully building passenger railcars in China and plans to ship them to SEPTA —apparently in contrast with FTA’s Buy America requirements for rolling stock procurement…. [w]e are concerned whether CRRC MA has met the Buy America requirements so far over the course of this contract and if CRRC MA will be able to meet these requirements as the contract progresses,” said Graves, Davis, and Crawford in their letter requesting a review by the Department of Transportation Inspector General (IG).
According to T&I, by law, SEPTA must comply with FTA’s Buy America requirements relating to how much of the components and subcomponents for rolling stock (railcars and buses) are produced in the U.S., and how much of the final assembly for rolling stock occurs in the U.S.
“It’s now more important than ever that we are prioritizing manufacturing in America, especially in the transportation sector — that’s why my colleagues and I sent a letter to the Department of Transportation to ensure that our Buy America requirements are being followed and that federal funds are not being used to procure goods from State-Owned Enterprises run by the Chinese Communist Party,” said Davis.
T&I cited recent reports by the Philadelphia Inquirer that raise questions about whether the SEPTA — CRRC MA contract is meeting the Buy America requirements and whether the railcars are in fact being built by CRRC MA in China.
According to the committee, the members asked the IG to examine how FTA and SEPTA are certifying CRRC and CRRC MA’s adherence to the Buy America requirements, how FTA and SEPTA determine the total value of foreign components for the purpose of the Buy America requirements, and if any foreign components in the CRRC MA contract are undervalued against their domestic market rate in the U.S.
“It is important to the competitiveness and security of American industries that we ensure that companies that do business in our country comply with all U.S. laws and that there’s a level playing field,” Graves said. “We are simply asking the Inspector General to determine whether CRRC is in compliance with Buy America requirements.”