A recent proof of this formula was on display yesterday, when Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn (recent recipient of NARP's Golden Spike Award) was joined by U.S. Department of Transportation to tour the Nippon Shoryo plant in Rochelle, Illinois.
Secretary Foxx profiled the trip in the U.S. DOT's FastLane blog:
"Two years ago when their plant opened with a single shop, Nippon Sharyo had fewer than 100 new hires. The second shop added more workers. And, not much more than a year ago, I was in Rochelle for the groundbreaking of Shop #3: a facility that has been built impressively fast, that led to 90 additional hires, and has all the latest technologies for laser metal cutting, fabrication, and welding. Now, with today’s ribbon-cutting, the Rochelle plant has created more than 400 new jobs right here in the U.S.
"The plant has also helped create even more jobs throughout its American supply chain because our Buy America program requires that railcars being built here are 100 percent American-made. This shop allows Nippon Sharyo to fully meet these requirements and ramp up production through 2018.
"For example, the Nippon Sharyo rail car order led to Columbus Casting’s largest order in its 130-year history, and 50 new jobs. And that’s just one of more than 50 American suppliers Nippon Sharyo will work with to build its railcars."
Imagine the kind of supply chain would develop if the U.S. committed itself to building a modern Amtrak equipment fleet. The economic multipliers that would take effect if we ever took on the challenge of building a truly 21st Century train network with fast and frequent service.
Or better yet: don't imagine. Help NARP build it.