In the “Weld and Bogie shop” at the Siemens manufacturing plant in Sacramento, thousands of pieces of steel are welded together to form a “car shell,” or skeleton of a rail car. Thousands of individual pieces go in; one cohesive structure comes out. Elements are then added to this structure until it leaves the factory as a fully formed vehicle ready to ride the rails.
Yesterday I saw firsthand how these trains are made and met with some of Siemens’ employees in Sacramento. I could not have been more impressed.
Since the 1980s, Siemens has been employing workers in Sacramento to build our nation's light rail vehicles. In the years since Siemens began this line, American communities have increased the number of light rail systems five-fold thanks to federal, state, and local investments in public transit. More than three million people now ride light rail each day, and the plant employs 800 men and women.
Recently, Siemens has begun supporting our next rail revolution by constructing electric locomotives and streetcars. In late 2010, through DOT's investment in high-speed and intercity passenger rail, the company won a contract to supply Amtrak with 70 locomotives to run in the busy Northeast and Keystone corridors. They have added 200 new manufacturing jobs in Sacramento alone and are creating additional jobs around the country.
At Siemens, and across America, we are not only investing in state-of-the-art transportation that will be our legacy for generations to come, but we are investing in American workers right now.
And what I saw at Siemens is rippling out to rail suppliers from coast to coast thanks to the Obama Administration's rail investments. Businesses are bringing jobs back home to America to build our rail future. In fact, 30 different rail companies from around the world have pledged that--if selected for high-speed rail contracts--they will hire American workers and expand their bases of operation in the United States.
The MEP is a Department of Commerce partnership with DOT to help develop a robust domestic supply base to support our nation's transportation infrastructure. We're pumping new life into domestic manufacturing across the country because President Obama knows that we can't build an America that lasts without American manufacturers and American workers.
We want to ensure a 100 percent domestic supply base to support the Next Generation passenger railcars and locomotives America needs, and yesterday's forum was a terrific way to build that base, bringing together manufacturers and suppliers like those thousands of steel pieces that weld together to form a car shell.
I'm looking forward to seeing what they produce.