$336.2 million slated to buy rail corridor trains in five states

| Published on August 4, 2011

California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Missouri will receive $336.2 million to purchase next-generation, American-made trains that will run on rail corridors in those states, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced on Aug. 3.

Including previously awarded dollars, these five states and Washington State now have $782 million for the purchase of 33 quick-acceleration locomotives and 120 bi-level passenger cars.

LaHood says the money awarded will pump three quarters of a billion dollars into the domestic manufacturing industry. Additionally, he says, “Our Buy America standard will put people to work all over the county.”

California and Illinois reached cooperative agreements with the Federal Railroad Administration to begin a multi-state procurement of equipment for passenger rail corridors in California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon, and Washington State. Through a joint procurement process, states will leverage these federal investments, along with state matching dollars, ensuring taxpayers receive the best possible deal while creating the necessary momentum to encourage manufacturers to build equipment in U.S. plants with American workers and suppliers.

“Building a nationwide rail network is critical to America’s long-term economic success. More people are choosing to take the train, and, this year, Amtrak is projected to set an all-time record by topping 30 million annual riders,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo.

Trains will be designed to travel more than 110 miles per hour along intercity passenger corridors and meet standards developed by the state-led, Next Generation Equipment Committee. This will provide manufacturers with consistent specifications for all passenger trains in the United States, reducing costs for manufacturers and customers, while providing a boost to the railcar manufacturing industry. The state partners will now begin a joint procurement process, first issuing a request for information (RFI) and then a request for proposal (RFP) to allow for an open and competitive process. The RFI is expected to be issued in late summer 2011.

A strict “Buy America” requirement ensures that U.S. manufacturers and workers receive the maximum economic benefits from this federal investment. In 2009, Secretary LaHood secured a commitment from 30 foreign and domestic rail manufacturers to employ American workers and locate or expand their base of operations in the U.S., if they are selected for high-speed-rail contracts. In addition, in June, the DOT announced a $562.9 million loan to Amtrak through FRA’s Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) program to finance the purchase of 70 high-performance, electric locomotives from Siemens Industry USA, creating 250 new manufacturing jobs in California, Ohio, and Georgia.

The Obama Administration has invested $10.1 billion to lay the groundwork for a high-speed and intercity passenger rail network in the United States, providing rail access to new communities and improving the reliability, speed, and frequency of existing lines. Of that, more than $6 billion has been obligated, with corridor projects under way in New England, Illinois, Washington State, and North Carolina, and stations under construction in California and North Carolina.

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