Buy America Works When We Work Together

By Michael Keroulle, President and CEO, Alstom Americas 
Robert Martinez, Jr., International President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers(IAM)

 The outlook on American manufacturing and production has never been better as we experience the strongest manufacturing job recovery since the 1950s. Bipartisan support is increasing for new policies aimed at onshoring American jobs and manufacturing facilities, and our work at Alstom should serve as a proof point: Buy America works, and it works for all of us.

In Hornell, New York – home of the largest passenger transit manufacturing plant in North America -our efforts directly support American industry. From the rail products assembled on American factory floors to the union labor working right now to produce America’s first 28 next-generation high-speed trains, Alstom has fostered a system borne out of Buy America policies that deliver for American businesses, workers, and communities. 

Our decision to invest over $66 million in Hornell was driven by our commitment to create hundreds of highly skilled, long-term jobs., right here in America.. This investment has leveraged more, with $80 million in public and private funds flowing into Hornell’s community of 8,000+ residents spurring the local economy and revitalizing the area’s manufacturing industry.

Buy America is helping build a great local workforce and our partnership with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), a member of the AFL-CIO, has been a critical success factor. Our investments in Hornell have created 400 new, well-paying, union jobs in a small industrial town. Without Buy America, those jobs would not exist and the future of Hornell, and towns like it, would be more uncertain. 

Why would we send our money someplace else when we have hardworking, skilled labor right here at home?

Alstom has worked with our network of foreign suppliers to onshore rail supply chains into the U.S. that did not exist before, differentiating rail from most of the transportation industry as they face issues sourcing overseas parts. 

While some argue that high-speed rail technology only comes from Asia or Europe, our work proves this is false. Alstom’s trains are made from 95% domestic content and Buy America policies have driven our suppliers to set up shop right here in America, creating long-term local manufacturing jobs and the foundational supply chains needed for tomorrow’s rail innovations. 

There’s a long list of European suppliers we’ve brought to America to work with us: Eaton/Danfoss for tilting, Hoppecke for battery systems, ABB Hitachi and ABB Inc. for transformers and battery chargers, Hutchinson for suspension systems.

Beyond Hornell, our decision to invest $590 million in American suppliers has spurred economic development in communities across the country. In New York alone, Alstom has spent $160 million with local suppliers in support of the delivery of the future of high-speed rail for American commuters. We invested $80 million in Illinois, $42 million in Pennsylvania, $22 million in Kentucky, as well as hundreds of millions across 23 other states. 

Over half of this went to small and disadvantaged businesses, including 20 minority and women-owned businesses and 63 small business enterprises. And the suppliers we on shored made their own investments in this vein, creating a virtuous cycle and widening the benefits. 

Building a strong American supply chain not only helps deliver new transit infrastructure. It also ensures that rail and transit agencies will have the parts they need to maintain this infrastructure over the long-term, with the reliability and quality that American passengers deserve. 

Buy America is about using the soul of the nation to invest in itself. Over 60% of the value of a highspeed train flows to suppliers and, here, at Alstom, we plan to keep working with every American supplier we can find.

Senator Schumer and DOT Undersecretary Monje visited Alstom in Hornell this spring, where we are building the latest generation of high-speed rail. Speaking with employees on our local factory floor, they witnessed that Buy America is fulfilling its goals – driving industrial development across the country, building a highly-skilled workforce, and strengthening the country’s supply chain – three vital elements for the future of rail and transit in America. 

We appreciate the Senator’s strong leadership championing a smart Buy America policy that ensures Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) funding creates U.S. jobs and strengthens local communities.

In his State of the Union address, President Biden told the nation that “American roads, American bridges, and American highways will be made with American products.” The future is here as we make our trains with American products and accelerate towards the future of American transportation. High-speed rail is happening now and, to put it simply, is only possible through the enforcement of policies like Buy America.

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