Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Congressman Garamendi to Transportation Agencies: "You Need to Make it in America to Save the America We Love"

October 13, 2010
Press Release

CALAVERAS COUNTY, CA – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA), California’s former Lieutenant Governor and a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, today returned to the county of his childhood to call on California’s transportation agencies to “Make it in America”. Congressman Garamendi is the author of four bills designed to bring back good manufacturing jobs to America, including one that ends federal subsidies for foreign-produced transportation equipment and vehicles. Garamendi delivered his remarks at a town hall with the Mother Lode community on transportation issues with members of the California Transportation Commission and other regional transportation agencies.

"Whether they realize it or not, every transportation agency represented in this room is on the frontlines of one of the most important battles of the 21st century," said Rep. Garamendi. "With your procurement decisions, you decide whether America will thrive in the decades ahead or if we’ll witness a slow decline."

"Too many of you continue to throw our good manufacturing jobs – the backbone of America’s middle class – to other countries eager to invest in their own futures. That’s why I’ve proposed legislation that ends federal subsidies for foreign-produced transportation purchases," Garamendi added. "With the local, state, and federal tax dollars you receive, you need to Make it in America to save the America we love. If we don’t Make it in America, we won’t make it in America. Manufacturing matters."

In his remarks, Garamendi said the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge boondoggle, marred in delays and cost overruns caused by shoddy steel manufacturing from China, is among the clearest examples of American jobs thrown away with the help of public money. Many of the revenues collected through tolls and other public funding sources for the Bay Bridge were and continue to be diverted to China and other foreign countries for labor and parts. Meanwhile, across the Bay in Pittsburg, California and in states throughout the country, steel plants lay off workers due to a lack of purchase orders.

Garamendi explained: "Can countries with atrocious labor and environmental standards sometimes produce goods a little bit cheaper than American workers? Sure, but that’s a shallow way of looking at our economy. As we saw with the Bay Bridge, sometimes you get what you pay for. Even more importantly, supply chains matter. American workers pay American taxes and spend money at local businesses. With increased demand, these businesses expand and hire new workers, creating even more local demand along with tax revenues that can then be used in additional infrastructure. This cycle of growth and prosperity must be our nation’s priority in the years ahead."

Garamendi’s transportation legislation, the Buses, Rail Cars, Ferryboats: Make it in America Act of 2010 (H.R. 5791), would create American jobs by eliminating three waivers to the Bu; y America requirement and ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent on American-made buses, rail cars, and ferryboats. Transit agencies would have to look to American manufacturers for their transportation equipment needs unless it increases costs by 25 percent or more, thereby putting welders, engineers, mechanics, electricians, technicians, and other Americans back to work.

Well over 12 percent of California workers are struggling to find employment in our difficult economy, while approximately 12,000 to 20,000 American jobs are offshored every month. Real wages adjusted for inflation in America have remained stagnant since the 1970s.

Other Make it in America bills by the Congressman would close corporate tax loopholes that reward the off-shoring of jobs, ends taxpayer subsidies for foreign-produced clean energy technology, and offer tax incentives for capital improvements to encourage businesses to expand so they can hire new workers.