CA: Coalition Calls on Amtrak and CA High Speed Rail Authority to Maximize U.S. Job Creation in $3 Billion Bullet Train Manufacturing Contract

May 16, 2014
Deadline for proposals from global manufacturing companies is May 17.

As high speed train manufacturing companies submit bids to Amtrak and the California High Speed Rail Authority for a contract worth an estimated $3 billion, the Jobs to Move America coalition called upon the transit authorities to weigh the proposals for maximum impacts on U.S. job creation and workforce development. 

May 17 is the deadline for some of the largest manufacturing companies in the world Kawasaki, Hyundai Rotem, Siemens, Bombardier, Alstom, Nippon Sharyo, Hitachi, AnsaldoBreda and Talgo to submit competing proposals vying for a contract to build America’s first modern high-speed rail cars. There are no U.S.-based railcar manufacturing companies.  University of Massachusetts, Amherst economists estimate that the purchase could incent up to 31,000 American jobs, if the company who wins the high speed train contract maximizes investment in U.S. facilities and manufacturing workforce.

“America will build our first-ever, state-of-the-art high speed trains.  The $3 billion question is, will diverse American workers with good jobs, be the ones to build them?” said Madeline Janis, director of the Jobs to Move America campaign.  “Jobs to Move America believes that we must maximize our public investments.  We call on Amtrak and California to award this bid to a manufacturing company with a rock-solid commitment to American jobs and workforce development. Let’s leverage our $3 billion in taxpayer dollars to revive America’s transportation manufacturing sector and provide good jobs for unemployed Americans.”

On Jan. 24, the Jobs to Move America coalition congratulated Amtrak and the California High SpeedRail Authority for releasing their request for proposals (RFP) for the purchase of 43 high-speed “train sets” capable of carrying up to 450 passengers at speeds of at least 160 miles per hour, to replace Acela trains currently operating on the East Coast and operate on the future high speed rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Jobs to Move America applauded the agencies for requiring that bidding companies detail plans to create American jobs, locate factories in the United States, and recruit, train and employ disadvantaged American workers such as veterans, in connection with the contract. 

For the past 14 weeks, as manufacturers have been preparing their proposals, and the Jobs to Move America coalition has compiled useful workforce development resources and hosted  best-practices webinar to help companies strengthen their proposals with increased commitments to American job creation and diverse hiring.

After the May 17 deadline passes, Amtrak and the California High Speed Rail Authority staff will evaluate the proposals.  As part of this “best-value procurement” process, the transit authorities will evaluate and score each bidder’s American jobs plans.  Amtrak and the California High Speed Rail Authority are expected to announce their decision to award a contract to one company, towards the end of the year.  The company that wins the bid will then incorporate its American jobs plans into the contract.

“Amtrak and California’s contract has the opportunity to help spur a revival in transit manufacturing that can fuel urban renewal and put veterans and disadvantaged people to work in good-paying jobs. But only if they prioritize correctly,” said Ed Wytkind, president of the transportation trades department of the AFL-CIO.  “TTD joined the Jobs to Move America coalition because we believe that public transportation investments should maximize economic impact and job creation in America.  Working people are relying on Amtrak and California’s $3 Billion decision to be the right one.”

Until a contract is awarded, Jobs to Move America encourages Amtrak and the California High Speed Rail Authority to carefully scrutinize bids.  The coalition urges the transit agencies to award the contract to a company who will seriously invest in good jobs for disadvantaged Americans such as veterans, residents of low-income communities and people of color.