And what if those new locomotives were made by American workers using components and materials that were manufactured by American men and women at 70 other U.S. companies? I'd call that an impressive demonstration of DOT's Buy America program at work for our nation's economy.
And what if the new locomotives could transform the energy generated by braking into electricity that would be fed back into the electrical grid, returning 65 percent of the locomotives' initial cost? That would be yet another win for a 21st Century national transportation system that is growing greener and greener all the time.
Finally, what if the new locomotives featured system redundancies and real-time remote systems monitoring to make trains on the Northeast and Keystone Corridors safer, more reliable, and easier to maintain? That would be a great improvement in American passenger rail travel.
And if we rolled all of the above into a single locomotive that achieves all of those gains? Well, that would be a terrific way to celebrate National Train Day and National Transportation Week.
Amtrak’s order for 70 of the new locomotives also created good jobs in 60 different cities across the U.S.. In fact, to gain the necessary skills to build the new locomotives, Siemens sent workers overseas to learn from world-leading rail manufacturers. So, not only did the Amtrak contract add jobs; it also helped American workers add sophisticated skills that will improve their ability to compete globally.
Amtrak's purchase of the new fleet was financed through the Federal Railroad Administration's Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Program, a valuable tool for railroads, states, and local governments to help meet critical transportation needs. And I am happy to see the Obama Administration's investment in American rail pay such a wide range of important dividends.
With rail ridership at an all-time high and rising across the nation, a new fleet set to begin service later this year, and U.S. manufacturing rolling again, it's pretty clear that America's rail renaissance is here.