The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which was approved on December 4 and is the first long-term transportation bill approved in 10 years, includes the Buy America provision, which sets domestic content standards for the transportation purchases by Department of Transportation.
A report released last week, “Strengthening U.S. Manufacturing Through Public Procurement Policies,” by The Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) and Jobs to Move America, reviews opportunities for American job creation through transportation procurement policies,
The report was unveiled at a briefing on Capitol Hill Tuesday, December 8, at the Rayburn House Office Building’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Hearing Room. Reps. Dave Joyce (OH-14) and Dan Lipinski (IL-3), co-chairs of the Congressional Buy American Caucus, provided introductory remarks.
Robert Pollin, co-director, PERI, and co-author of the study, discussed key findings including how significant reforms of the “Buy America” program of the Department of Transportation can strengthen domestic railcar manufacturers and workers in this sector.
“Promoting manufacturing is a way to build jobs; we have lost five million manufacturing jobs in recent years,” says Pollin. “Strengthening monitoring and enforcement of Buy America provisions is crucial to ensure the creation of more manufacturing jobs.”
To connect policy implications to personal impact for American workers, 11 workers from six states shared testimonies of their experiences working in transportation manufacturing. These included:
- Renee Brand, a decal technician at the New Flyer bus factory in St. Cloud, Minn.
- Eric Braun, a welder at the New Flyer bus factory in Anniston, Ala.
- Donna Comp-Penwarden, a quality assurance inspector with Nippon Sharyo railcar manufacturing facility in Rochelle, Ill.
- Stacey Corcoran, an electrician at the Nippon Sharyo railcar manufacturing facility in Rochelle, Ill.
- Gabriel Harrell, an assembler at the New Flyer bus factory in Anniston, Ala.
- Anne Latham, a manufacturing specialist at Alstom Transportation Inc. in Hornell, N.Y.
- Songsinh Matmanivong, a cold welder at the New Flyer bus factory in St. Cloud, Minn..
- Jennifer Narrod, a specialist at Alstom Signaling Inc. in Rochester, N.Y..
- Elizabeth Perry, an electrical workleader at Alstom Transportation Inc. in Hornell, N.Y.
- Debra Pitts, a driver at the New Flyer bus factory in Ontario, Calif.
- Nicholas South, a quality inspector at the Siemens factory in Norwood, Ohio