In Rochelle, Illinois, Nippon Sharyo already has 250 men and women working at its railcar assembly plant. Yesterday, the manufacturer took the first step toward adding 80 more good jobs for American workers with the groundbreaking of a new metal fabrication and machining shop.
Last November, I was in Rochelle with Governor Quinn to announce that Nippon Sharyo had been awarded a contract through the President’s High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail program to build 130 new rail cars for California and the Midwest. Yesterday, I was thrilled to be back to help Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Nippon Sharyo Chairman Katsuyuki Ikushima celebrate this 330,000 square-foot expansion.
Nippon Sharyo's $54 million investment demonstrates what we've been saying for the past four years: investing in American rail is an investment in American jobs for American workers.
It is our Buy America program - requiring that all the components of the 130 railcars or any other rail project be built by US works in US factories - that helped bring about yesterday's groundbreaking. By expanding their plant, Nippon Sharyo is proving to us that they’re 100 percent committed to meeting these standards. And that's not only good news for the 80 workers who will fill those new jobs, but also for the more than 200 potential suppliers and vendors the company has already identified in the Midwest alone.
And it’s not just the Midwest who benefits. Because we have railway suppliers in 49 states and Washington, DC, all of America benefits.
The President has had the courage to do just that with the largest federal investment in high-speed and higher-performing intercity passenger rail in American history. To date, we have invested nearly $12 billion in more than 150 projects.
And we're seeing the results across the country. In the Northeast, we're helping passengers on our nation's busiest corridor travel at even higher speeds. In the Midwest, we're already seeing trains operating at higher speeds between Chicago and St. Louis and Chicago and Detroit. And in the West, we're about to see the California High Speed Rail Authority break ground on America's first-ever true high-speed line.
But for the families earning paychecks in Illinois, you can bet that what we're seeing in Rochelle--American workers once again engaged in manufacturing--is just as important as increased mobility.
In 1862, in the face of stiff opposition and in the midst of a national crisis, President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railroad Act, laying the groundwork for the Transcontinental Railroad, one of the greatest transportation projects in history.
It was big. It was bold. And it contributed importantly to the America we inherited from previous generations. Today, we are fortunate to have a President with a similar vision and a similar commitment to investing in the future of this great nation.
And in the expansion of the Nippon Sharyo plant in Illinois, we're seeing a preview of the kind of dividends this bold investment will pay.