In Columbus, Ohio, yesterday, Deputy Secretary John Porcari announced the first-ever uniform technical standards for the manufacture of high-speed intercity passenger rail cars.
Now, you may think this announcement is about trains, but it's really about jobs. American manufacturing jobs.
As Deputy Secretary Porcari said,
"This is a watershed moment for railroading, but it's also a chance to get America back to building its own future. We are not going to outsource the fabrication, assembly, or jobs that will be created as we scale up our rail industry."
Because, as part of the Obama Administration’s focus on maximizing manufacturing opportunities, these standards provide an unprecedented opportunity for rail industry suppliers in the US. From rails to wheel bearings to final assembly, we are helping to establish a strong, stable manufacturing base for this exciting new industry.
You see, a uniform standard means that any manufacturer can compete to build this infrastructure; it's a level playing field. And the open competition this standard fosters should help keep costs down for railroads and travelers.
As Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo explained, "A common design for rail components makes it easier to stock parts, train maintenance personnel, and perform repairs, all of which reduces costs.”
The first of our standards applies to bi-level passenger cars for high-speed operation. The new cars will fit with current locomotives as well as our future high-speed fleet, and they meet all current safety requirements and regulations.
More importantly, they will be able to satisfy future regulations for crash energy management. That means that as existing passenger rail cars are replaced, the new ones will enhance safety.
We're creating the jobs America needs and building a safe, efficient, and sustainable transportation network that will energize our economy and create opportunities for generations to come.
President Obama's vision of a new era in rail is a win for American manufacturers, a win for American workers, and a win for American travelers.