The U.S. rail manufacturing industry stands to undergo considerable growth in the coming years, as Amtrak upgrades its railcars and adds high-speed trains, and as lawmakers consider a transportation bill that calls for significantly greater investments in public transit, including rail, according to a new study by Duke University prepared for the Apollo Alliance. States like New York, Pennsylvania and California, which are home to a combined 80 rail-manufacturing facilities, would reap major benefits from such a bill.
"Our research found that while there is already a healthy chain of U.S. manufacturing locations that produce components and systems for railcars; the sector still has plenty of room to grow if the next federal transportation bill prioritizes public transit and rail investments," says Marcy Lowe, a senior research analyst at the Duke University Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness (CGGC) and the report's lead author.
The report, U.S. Manufacture of Rail Vehicles for Intercity Passenger Rail and Urban Transit: A Value Chain Analysis, looks at the manufacture of U.S. rail vehicles in six categories: intercity passenger, high-speed, regional, metro, light rail and streetcars. It finds that the U.S. rail supply chain includes at least 247 manufacturing locations in 35 states. The states with the most manufacturing facilities are New York (32 rail manufacturing facilities), Pennsylvania (26), Illinois (23), California (22) and Ohio (13). Although the U.S. rail manufacturing industry is small-the report's authors estimate its employment at between 10,000 and 14,000 employees-industry analysts expect it to grow due to pent-up demand for intercity and urban rail service.
"Our nation needs a new transportation policy that invests in expanded public transit and more energy-efficient transportation, including rail. Done right, these investments could mean a windfall of rail manufacturing jobs across the country," says Phil Angelides, chairman of the Apollo Alliance.
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