Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
Amtrak

House Jobs Bill Could Make General Electric’s Amtrak Wish Come True

The House is poised to take up a jobs bill later today that provides
$37.3 billion in new transportation spending, including $27.5 billion
for roads, $8.4 billion for transit ... and a holiday gift for General
Electric?

ecomaginationhybrid5.jpgCould this cleaner GE locomotive be coming soon to Amtrak? (Photo: Inhabitat)

GE's transportation division recently joined its main labor union in a lobbying campaign aimed at winning federal money for Amtrak to buy its lower-emissions locomotives, which are catching on in China but not in the U.S.

And
tucked into the new House jobs bill is language that appears to give GE
the opening it has sought. The bill states that its $800 million in
Amtrak funds can be used (emphasis mine):

for fleet modernization, including rehabilitation of existing and acquisition of new passenger equipment, including fuel-efficient locomotives.

What's
more, the House jobs bill also includes language requiring the
Transportation Secretary to adhere to "buy American" rules for Amtrak
even if the equipment in question "cannot be bought and delivered in
the United States within a reasonable time." (Existing law allows the
U.S. DOT to waive Amtrak "buy American" rules in such cases.)

Of
course, there's no guarantee that Amtrak management will opt to use any
new job-creation money to purchase GE trains -- and the House jobs bill
faces a decidedly uncertain fate in the Senate. But given the punishing
layoffs
that GE Transportation made this year at its plant Erie, PA, one
wonders if local workers will begin to press the company about possible
re-hiring.

Late Update: It's worth noting that the
stronger "buy American" rules apply across the board for construction
projects in the jobs bill, as Bloomberg reported this afternoon.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

Incomplete Streets Part 2: in OC Caltrans Ignores Caltrans Policy on Bike and Pedestrian Needs

Caltrans has a policy requiring Complete Streets in its projects, but Caltrans Districts routinely ignore it

July 24, 2024

Supervisor Hahn and Councilmember Ricks-Oddie: “Pull the Plug” on Metro/Caltrans 91 Freeway Expansion in Long Beach

Supervisor Janice Hahn: “I think it’s pretty clear that we’re going to need to pull the plug" on planned mile-long $174 million 91 Freeway project

July 23, 2024

L.A. Street Vendors Celebrate Removal of No-Vending Restrictions in Huge Win Against City

The victory is the product of a decade-plus-long battle to legalize sidewalk vending on our city streets

July 23, 2024
See all posts