All across the country, transportation investments have played a critical role in reviving our manufacturing sector. Manufacturing built our country and created our middle class, and this Administration knows that if we want to remain the world’s greatest nation, we must continue to build things.
That’s why, later today I will join representatives from the BlueGreen Alliance, a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy, at a White House forum on “Creating Jobs and Building Better Communities Through Transit Investment.”
At this session, we'll discuss ways to strengthen America's communities by continuing to enforce our Buy America provisions, developing all-American manufacturing supply chains, and enhancing partnerships at the federal, state, and local levels around economic development and infrastructure investment.
This summer, President Obama signed MAP-21 into law, which will create good-paying jobs and put Americans back to work repairing our nation’s infrastructure. And because it reinforces our Buy America requirements for road, bridge, rail, and transit projects, MAP-21 also furthers our commitment to building transportation projects with American hands and American-made parts and supplies.
Our Buy America policies create and support good-paying jobs that benefit hardworking families and industries that are important to the American economy – industries from iron ore mining and steel production to rail manufacturing and electronics.
These changes are making a difference. In the Federal Transit Administration alone, we have reduced Buy America waivers from more than 40 in 2009 to just 3 in 2012.
That means more jobs in America throughout the supply chain.
We’re also continuing to partner with the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) from the Department of Commerce, which has established a solid track-record of success connecting manufacturers with American suppliers.
Investments in rail present a particularly significant opportunity for American manufacturing. Since President Obama took office, we have invested more than $12 billion in our intercity passenger rail network, and the benefits of that investment don’t end in the cities building new tracks.
Thanks to the growing network of rail suppliers, the benefits extend to nearly every state in the country. Construction materials and equipment for our new rail projects are coming from facilities in 49 different states.
For example, as the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and California begin to update their equipment, we’re looking at more than $750 million worth of locomotives and railcars. From the biggest engines to the smallest bolts and circuits, those parts are going to be made right here in America.
Together with great partners like the BlueGreen Alliance and American enterprises of all shapes and sizes, we can continue building a transportation system that is the envy of the world. And we can build a manufacturing sector that gives families across the nation a fair shot at the American dream.