On June 20, the California High Speed Rail Authority and Amtrak canceled their joint manufacturing plan for 43 modern high speed trains, concluding that the needs of the two transit agencies were too different to be addressed in a single contract.
On January 24, Amtrak and California High Speed Rail Authority jointly issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the purchase of 28 high-speed “train sets” to replace Acela trains currently operating between Boston, New York City, and Washington D.C, and 15 train sets to operate on a new high speed rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Some of the largest manufacturing companies in the world -- including Kawasaki, Hyundai Rotem, Siemens, Bombardier, Alstom, Nippon Sharyo, Hitachi, AnsaldoBreda and Talgo – were expected to compete for the contract, worth an estimated $3 billion.
The Jobs to Move America coalition had applauded the transit agencies for requiring bidding companies to disclose comprehensive plans to create American manufacturing jobs, invest in U.S. factories, provide training and workforce development, and recruit disadvantaged workers such as veterans; and for scoring their responses. Jobs to Move America estimates that the Amtrak and California High Speed Rail purchase could support up to 31,000 American jobs.
In response, Madeline Janis, director of the Jobs to Move America campaign, issued the following statement:
“The Job to Move America coalition urges Amtrak and the California High Speed Rail Authority to continue their commitment to building these high speed trains in the United States.
“We must harness the spending power of billions of United States taxpayer dollars to create lasting, quality American manufacturing jobs. For too long, we’ve purchased buses and passenger trains for our cities, without thinking about creating quality jobs, generating opportunities for unemployed Americans or reviving struggling communities. Public transit agencies and the global manufacturing companies they contract with need to step up to create good jobs for workers in the United States.”
“In the separate Requests for Proposals (RFPs), Amtrak and the California High Speed Rail Authority should require – as the joint proposal did – that the companies bidding for the contract to build America’s first modern high-speed trains clearly spell out their plans for creating good U.S. jobs and providing opportunities for disadvantaged Americans. Given our past experience with the joint RFP, we have high hopes they will.”
“Ultimately, America’s movement towards high speed rail transit could pay off with tens of thousands of good jobs for disadvantaged Americans like veterans, residents of low-income communities, and people of color. It’s up to Amtrak and the California High Speed Rail Authority to make that happen.”