Suggestion to Manufacture High-Speed Rail Cars in Fremont

Last December, Quentin Kopp floated the idea of the NUMMI plant being re-purposed as a manufacturing facility for high-speed rail cars.  I think this is an excellent idea, the kind of idea that our City should be pursuing.  Yet the City was silent when this idea was raised.

I have vigorously argued that we need to maintain this area a job-producing site, specifically middle-class living-wage jobs as was provided by the NUMMI facility.  Between housing, retail and jobs, the latter is the most important item that we need to turn our City’s economy around.

The idea of high-speed rail cars being manufactured in Fremont might seem far-fetched.  However, there are enough positive indicators to make this something the City should at least be pursuing.  First, the Obama administration recently awarded 2.25 billion dollars to California as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA).  Secondly, the voters of California passed Proposition 1A in November 2008 which provided for over 8 billion dollars in bond funding for high-speed rail.  The money for these projects is rolling in.

Another factor to consider is that high-speed rail cars are typically manufactured overseas right now.  Obviously, it would be best for our country’s economy if these were manufactured in the United States.  With something like rail cars, the transport costs are significant.  There’s a real savings to be realized if these can be manufactured closer to where they’ll actually be used.

Many people are quick to try to write off American manufacturing after the recent problems with the auto industry.  I’m not one of them.  I believe there are many opportunities in the green jobs sector and elsewhere that we should be pursuing in Fremont and elsewhere.  I’m on the side of those that argue now is the time for American ingenuity, not for giving up on manufacturing.  The local and regional economic benefits of manufacturing have been widely demonstrated.

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2 comments on “Suggestion to Manufacture High-Speed Rail Cars in Fremont”

  1. Bill Spicer Reply

    California High Speed Rail Authority is plagued with misinformation, telling lies to the public, generally being dishonest, after all the lawsuits are settled and we finally find out, what High Speed rail is all about, but for now the High Speed train is headed for court.
    I believe in High Speed Rail, just not Quentin Kopps version of it.
    I am suprised that the Sierra Club is still backing it.

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