Congressman Garamendi, Assemblymember Alejo, Labor Leaders Urge BART to Make It In America & Avoid Another Foreign-Produced Bay Bridge Fiasco
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – At a Treasure Island press conference overlooking the Bay Bridge, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas, CA), and representatives from a number of local and international unions urged San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to retain its commitment to Buy American as it considers contracts for a new fleet of BART cars. The BART Board will soon make a decision on a multi-billion dollar new car contract. Under similar circumstances a few years ago, CalTrans chose to support Chinese steel producers over American steel producers for construction of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge. This cost American workers thousands of jobs and rewarded China for unfair trade and labor practices. Those assembled at the press conference said the Bay Area does not need another Bay Bridge fiasco.
"BART is the largest public rail system on the West Coast. When it has billions of dollars to invest in new rail cars, manufacturers take notice," said Congressman Garamendi, a former Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. "BART has a simple choice in the weeks ahead: it can support our foreign competitors, or it can help create thousands of jobs for American workers and signal to the world that American manufacturing is back in business. We’re here today to urge BART to do the right thing and Make It In America."
Later this month, BART will release its public report on the bids for a 260-car BART contract, including the Buy America content of each bid. Garamendi and the other participants in today’s press conference are urging BART to make American content a top tier consideration in weighing the merits of all bids.
"Our new Bay Bridge is a work of art. It’s an American monument. As beautiful as it is, I firmly believe that American monuments should be built by American workers," said Alejo. "To me, it’s simple. Paychecks pay bills. Our taxpayer dollars should pay for goods and services produced here at home."
"The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) commends Congressman John Garamendi and Assembly Member Luis Alejo for supporting Buy America preferences and for pushing BART to maximize the amount of domestic content in its new fleet of cars," said AAM Executive Director Scott Paul. "Americans understandably want their tax dollars to be reinvested here at home by giving a commonsense preference to American-made steel and other manufactured goods. The outsourcing of the Bay Bridge was simply unacceptable and a similar repeat in upcoming infrastructure investments will undoubtedly have ramifications for those making the decisions to send tax dollars and jobs overseas. It is our hope that BART will make every effort to maximize the amount of domestic content in its new fleet of cars. We appreciate the efforts of Congressman Garamendi and Assembly Member Alejo for keeping a watchful eye."
"The BlueGreen Alliance is working to bring high-value transit manufacturing back to the US," said Lisa Hoyos, the organization's CA Director. "Incentives for greater domestic content to support US manufacturers should reward companies that create jobs at home."
Congressman Garamendi is the author of the Airports, Highways, Trains and Transit: Make it in America Act (H.R. 613), which would create American jobs by setting stronger standards for goods and equipment purchased with federal dollars for airports, highways, trains and transit. The legislation increases domestic content provisions for airports and rolling stock from 60 to 100 percent over time, eliminates non-availability waivers, and makes similar waiver reporting requirements across different modes of transportation.