BART will be Keeping it Made in America…but not Made in California
San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is turning 40, and the city is replacing all 775 BART cars with a new fleet. Considering that about two-thirds of BART cars have been in use since the system opened in 1972, this is undeniably a necessary investment.
And who will make these new cars? According to Transportation Nation, three foreign companies located in France, South Korea, and Canada are currently vying for this $3 billion deal. But don’t worry: even though Bart’s new fleet will be manufactured by foreign companies, Buy America provision dictate that 60% of the car construction must take place in the U.S.
The article quotes Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) Executive Director Scott Paul, who praised the Buy America laws that keep projects like this American-made:
“The idea is that through that taxpayer investment, we’ll be supporting jobs in this country as opposed to a place like China, for instance,” says Paul.
“We’ve had this policy through the building of the interstate highway system,” says Paul. “Ronald Reagan actually expanded it to transit programs.”
Yet Bay Area manufacturing advocates would like to see these cars built not only in the U.S., but in the region in which they’ll service:
“At a minimum, those cars should be built in the U.S.,” says Haggerty [an Alameda County Supervisor who sits on the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission] “But that’s not even going to make me happy. Those cars should be built within the BART district.”
Unfortunately, none of the companies competing for the BART contract plan to assemble the cars in California:
“Right now, none of the car builders BART is considering have plants in California. That’s what bothers Supervisor Scott Haggerty. He thinks agencies like BART should be able to use federal dollars to do their projects in-state––and to encourage companies to set up new plants here. Right now, that’s illegal.”
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