Brooklyn Navy Yard could be transit manufacturing hub
Though once a booming industrial hub, New York City’s Brooklyn Navy Yard is now better known for churning out big-budget films than manufactured goods. Steiner Studios, “New York’s Burbank,” is now the most profitable enterprise operating out of the Navy Yard and has served as the backdrop for numerous large-scale film and television projects since opening in 2004.
But as the New York Times’ Ginia Bellafante reports, there are some who think this stretch of waterfront warehouses should once again house facilities that manufacture the goods needed to keep New York’s extensive transit agencies rolling along.
Earlier in the month a coalition of local unions, policy organizations, and others – including the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) – gathered at the Brooklyn Navy Yard for a conference called “Building the Future.” As Bellafante reports: “Particpants called for a large-scale initiative to expand transit manufacturing in the state and city. Why couldn’t our brake parts and headlights and signal equipment, even our rail cars and buses, be made here?”
The argument to increase New York’s capacity for domestic transit projects is valid. According to the New York Times, “from 2000 to 2009, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was responsible for nearly a third of all buses, subway cars and commuter trains bought in the United States.” And anyone who has recently ridden a bus in New York City can attest to the fact that they could stand to be updated: Bellafante reports that nearly a third of all the city’s buses have passed their official lifespan of 12 years.
Whether or not the initiatives outlined during the conference will come to fruition is largely up to New York lawmakers. They have the ability to strengthen the state’s Buy America laws which, as they stand now, are unequivocally weak. We hope that state legislators soon recognize that the goals of this mixed-interest coalition stand to improve both the transit and job situation in the state, and will take action accordingly.
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