U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari: 'We're committed to Buy America'

Posted by Anonymous on 05/17/2011

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari spoke this afternoon at the MEP Conference in Orlando, Florida. In his remarks, he outlined the President’s commitment to investing in a modern infrastructure network and the benefits of utilizing Buy America policies to expand supply chains and create American jobs. “Transportation is about more than getting people from point A to B,” said Mr. Porcari.

The Administration is “committed to Buy America,” he explained. “If we’re going to build a world-class transportation network, we should do it with American materials.” When Buy America provisions are utilized, federal dollars are “recycled” in our economy, creating more jobs and generating more economic activity than if the project components were imported from foreign producers.

A great example of a Buy America policy at work comes from a growing supply chain of streetcar component manufacturers in the United States. Oregon Iron Works is well known for building the first modern streetcars in the U.S. in some 60 years. Mr. Porcari today said that there are roughly 60 companies working on streetcars. Sustained federal investment, coupled with Buy America policy, is making it happen.

Mr. Porcari also used American Seating of Grand Rapids, Michigan, as an example of a company that benefited from infrastructure investment and Buy America provisions. The company was “slammed” when the recession hit, and without demand generated by Recovery Act funding – which supported 8% of their revenue in the midst of the recession – American Seating may have gone under. An improving economy and new orders spurred by federal infrastructure investment have prompted the company to hire 40 new workers. Mr. Porcari described their future as “brighter than ever.”

Mr. Porcari praised MEP for partnering with the Department of Transportation and other government agencies to help fill Buy America waiver requests before they are granted and foreign products are used instead. MEP centers around the country are an excellent resource for identifying producers of components that go into a variety of projects.

Mr. Porcari left attendees with an optimistic path forward for American manufacturing, saying, “There are some who say America’s manufacturing days are behind us. We disagree!”

Click here to read more about how the Department of Transportation is utilizing Buy America provisions to create American jobs.

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