American manufacturing jobs are getting a boost thanks to the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Buy America provisions. Grounded in federal law, Buy America ensures that when U.S. taxpayers invest in public transportation, American workers in communities big and small benefit. The law requires that when federal taxpayer dollars are used for public transportation projects, the iron, steel, and manufactured products used must be “Made in America.” For instance, all rail cars and buses must be assembled in the U.S., and more than 60 percent of a new transit vehicle’s parts by cost must be American-made. Next year, the percentage of U.S. content required increases to 65 percent, and by FY 2020 it will rise to 70 percent. Many manufacturers already exceed that minimum, creating and supporting jobs at suppliers across the country. Just think of all the parts that go into a typical bus: besides the chassis and engine, there’s also wheels, brakes, seats, auxiliary power systems, air conditioning, windows, doors, instrumentation, and much more.
To help make this effort successful, the FTA works to bring final manufacturers and potential suppliers together. In June, more than 60 attendees took part in FTA’s Buy America Transit Supply Chain Connectivity Forum in Baltimore, Maryland, presented in partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The attendees represented manufacturing firms and participated in speed networking with larger transit equipment. The next such gathering will take place during the American Public Transportation Association’s Annual Meeting and Expo[external link], October 8-11, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia. The goal of these events is to bring manufacturers together and help make the domestic supply chain of U.S. transit systems stronger and more robust.
Public transportation not only connects Americans with jobs and services, it also supports our nation’s manufacturing sector. Buying American means riding American, too.