DOT celebrates opening of first American Nippon Sharyo passenger railcar factory
Nippon Sharyo today opened its first American railcar manufacturing plant. According to the company, the new factory will employ 250 workers by the end of next year and create additional jobs throughout the company’s American supply-chain. Nippon Sharyo has already identified more than 200 potential suppliers and vendors in the Midwest region alone. Deputy Federal Railroad Administrator Karen Hedlund attended the opening. In opening the Northern Illinois plant, Nippon Sharyo is fulfilling a commitment made to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in 2009 to establish U.S. manufacturing operations in order to meet eligibility requirements of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Buy America” program. “Buy America” requires that projects receiving federal investment use domestically manufactured supplies, ensuring that American workers and factories receive the maximum economic benefit from federal investments. “The Obama Administration’s investment in passenger rail is not only providing Americans
with more travel options, it is also creating good jobs in domestic manufacturing,” said Secretary LaHood. “As part of President Obama’s plan to rebuild America, this new factory will put Americans to work, spur economic development and allow people and goods to move more quickly and efficiently than ever before.” Under the Obama Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has invested more than $12 billion in passenger rail construction projects across the nation, providing a significant incentive for rail suppliers to expand domestic manufacturing operations and hire new workers. Nippon Sharyo invested $50 million in the Rochelle facility. During the plant’s construction, employment ranged from 50 to 120 building and trades workers at a time. The facility has the capability to produce 120 new passenger cars annually, and its first orders include commuter rail cars for service in Illinois, California, Virginia, and Ontario. “Today is a great day for workers in Rochelle and so many other American communities where the parts and supplies will be produced for these railcars,” said Deputy Administrator Karen Hedlund. “Investments in rail mean more jobs today and a stronger economy tomorrow.” Workers in other states are already seeing new opportunities from Nippon Sharyo’s plant. Super Steel, a Milwaukee, Wis., company contracted to supply steel components for trains, held a job fair last Saturday for welders and other craftsmen who will work on Nippon Sharyo orders. With nearly 2,700 facilities across the United States, the railway supply industry is a significant part of the U.S. economy, employing an estimated 94,000 people in 49 states and the District of Columbia. President Obama’s budget proposal calls for a $53 billion investment into the nation’s passenger rail network over the next six years to help create new manufacturing jobs and expand the capacity of the nation’s transportation network to meet the demands of our growing population.