Citing Defective Chinese-Made Parts Supplied to CTA, Lipinski Urges Passage of Bills to Close Loopholes in Buy America Laws
Citing a report that new train cars purchased by the CTA had to be recalled because faulty parts made in China could have caused serious safety problems, Congressman Dan Lipinski today urged Congress to pass legislation requiring trains purchased with federal money to be 100 percent made in America. Fortunately, before any breakdowns could occur CTA inspectors discovered the flaws and removed the cars from service.
"It’s bad enough when taxpayer dollars are used to purchase foreign-made products and take away jobs from American workers," Rep. Lipinski said. "When those products are also faulty, it’s even worse. For years, I’ve been working to close loopholes in Buy America laws to make sure that our tax dollars purchase American-made products that support American jobs. This is just another example of why it is so important that we do so. The Invest in American Jobs Act, H.R. 3533, which I helped introduce last year, would require that trains and related equipment bought with federal money be entirely ‘Made in U.S.A.’"
In addition, Rep. Lipinski helped push for an amendment that would have added language similar to H.R. 3533 to the House transportation reauthorization bill last month. Unfortunately, the amendment failed in the Republican-dominated Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. The congressman also coauthored an amendment to the House Republican transportation bill to achieve the same goal. Currently, Buy America laws only require that 60 percent of the cost of train components purchased with federal money be made in America.
The Chicago Tribune reported this week that critical steel parts supplied by a foundry in China to Bombardier Transportation of Canada – with which the CTA has a $1.14 billion contract for 706 rail cars – were seriously defective, and could have wreaked havoc had they failed. The first 54 of the train cars were delivered and most were briefly placed in service last year before CTA inspectors detected the flawed parts. Bombardier is currently replacing the parts at the CTA’s insistence. Most of the funding was supplied by the Federal Transit Administration.
"Because of these Chinese-made parts and Bombardier’s quality-control failures, CTA riders continue to put up with worn-out old train cars that require frequent and expensive maintenance and should have been retired long ago," Rep. Lipinski said. "Strengthening Buy America laws is critical to preventing something like this from happening again and to keeping our tax dollars here in the United States."
As part of his effort to require the federal government to Buy American whenever possible, Rep. Lipinski has introduced the Buy American Improvement Act, H.R. 2722, to close numerous loopholes in Buy America laws and stop the practice of spending taxpayer dollars on foreign-made products.
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