Industry News

RSA: Safeguarding the U.S. Freight Rail Industry a Vital Part of S. 2016

Following the passage out of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of Senate Bill 2016, a bipartisan surface transportation bill that would authorize $78 billion over five years, the Rail Security Alliance thanked Congressional leaders for prioritizing the security of the United States freight rail industry in the legislation.

The surface transportation bill was introduced by U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Roger
Wicker (R-MS), with Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) sponsoring an amendment to the bill, the Stopping America’s Foreign Enemies Through Rail and Infrastructure National Security (SAFE TRAINS) Act.

Today, the Senate Commerce Committee passed the bill in a vote of 25-3, keeping the SAFE TRAINS Act in the bill through markup. Erik Olson, vice president of the Rail Security Alliance, said, “The leadership of Sens. Cantwell and Wicker and Sens. Baldwin and Moran advances the work that has already been done to ensure that the North American freight rail industry and our critical rail infrastructure is free from foreign threat.” The SAFE TRAINS Act includes key provisions that protect the national and economic security
of the U.S. by ensuring freight railcars are manufactured and built in North America, not by
state-owned enterprises (SOE), as has happened in the domestic passenger rail market. The
SAFE TRAINS Act mirrors legislative language included the INVEST in America Act that was
passed out of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee last week.

Chinese state-owned enterprises, including CRRC, are at the forefront of the China military-civil
fusion strategy and have been identified on a Department of Defense list of companies backed
and supported by the Chinese military. It has also been reported that the state-backed company
uses forced child and Uighur labor in its supply chains.

CRRC has made inroads in the domestic passenger rail market by underbidding on railcar
manufacturing contracts for transit agencies from Los Angeles to Boston, reaping $2.6 billion in
contracts, with the majority of funding coming from taxpayer dollars. The SAFE TRAINS Act
prevents this kind of attack in the U.S. freight rail market.

Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle and U.S. defense experts have spoken out about
the risks of doing business with Chinese state-owned enterprises.

“In a few short years, Chinese state-owned enterprises like CRRC have demonstrated their intent
to take over U.S. manufacturing and supply in key industries through non-market, anti-
competitive practices and mercantilist policies backed by the Chinese Communist Party. It’sbeen shown time and time again that our freight rail industry is at a great risk from these foreign
threats. The SAFE TRAINS Act, included as part of the surface transportation bill, goes a long
way to ensuring rail security in the U.S.,” Olson added