Make it in America: The Apollo Clean Transportation Manufacturing Action Plan
Ten years into 21st century, our national transportation policy remains shaped by a law passed in 1956. Three years into a global economic recession, the U.S. economy continues to languish. With millions unemployed, it is time to put Americans back to work rebuilding our public transit systems, roads, and bridges; manufacturing advanced transportation vehicles; and laying the foundation for long-term economic recovery.
In March 2010, the Apollo Alliance convened a task force of leading manufacturers, labor unions, and policy experts in transportation, energy, and economic development — the Transportation Manufacturing Action Plan, or TMAP, task force — to examine options for expanding the domestic production of advanced transit systems, vehicles, clean trucks, and their component parts.
Based on input from the task force, we called for a comprehensive strategy to boost domestic transit and freight manufacturing that starts with increasing current federal investment to $30 billion per year for public transit and $10 billion per year for intercity and high-speed rail.
The $40 billion annual investments, as proposed by TMAP, will create 3.7 million direct and indirect jobs — 600,000 alone in the manufacturing sector over the next six years, the likely duration of a reauthorized transportation bill. By making these investments, we can get our economy back on track while doubling ridership over the next two decades, and building out a comprehensive intercity and high-speed rail system. In addition, these investments will generate $60 billion in net annual gross domestic product, nearly $45 billion in additional worker income, and $14 billion in annual tax revenue, spurring additional growth throughout the economy.
Of the more than 600,000 jobs that would be created in the manufacturing sector, many will be the production of advanced buses, rail cars, cleaner freight movement technologies and component parts. Realizing this manufacturing job growth and restoring productive capacity is essential to broader U.S. economic recovery because the manufacturing industry drives innovation and wealth creation across the entire economy. In fact, the manufacturing sector generates 70 percent of all private-sector research and development spending and 90 percent of all U.S. patents. And one higher-tech manufacturing job, such as those making advanced transportation equipment, will support up to 16 additional jobs in other sectors.
However, due to decades of underinvestment in public transit, the U.S. transit manufacturing industry is underdeveloped. Existing public transit bus, rail vehicle and clean truck supply chains support approximately 40,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs. While relatively small today, jobs in these supply chains are spread across all 50 states, among more than 375 existing companies that could scale up to meet expanded demand.
In order to fully reap manufacturing job-creation benefits, transit investments must be accompanied by measures that strengthen domestic production capacity. Since the passage of the last transportation reauthorization, over $10 billion has gone toward the purchase of public transit vehicles, track, and supporting equipment manufactured abroad. With an estimated 27,600 transit buses, 4,000 passenger rail cars and locomotives, and 220 light rail cars in need of replacement over the next six years, America simply cannot afford to continue purchasing this equipment overseas.
Since the start of the recession, U.S. has lost close to one-sixth of its manufacturing jobs. With so many factories ready to scale up with proper investments, and millions of Americans seeking good, high-paying jobs, the TMAP proposals are “factory and workforce ready.” It is time to embrace a 21st century transportation plan: one that creates millions of American jobs; provides increased transportation options and alternatives to fossil fuels; and recognizes our potential to invent and manufacture cleaner vehicles and transit systems here at home, instead of sending our dollars overseas.
Summary of Recommendations
Spur Demand for Transit Vehicles, Systems, Clean Trucks, and Their Component Parts
- Invest $30 billion in public transit and $10 billion in intercity rail annually to double public transit ridership and connect our nation’s communities with modern and efficient rail service.
- Expand competitive, mode-neutral financing approaches to leverage greater state, local, and private transportation investment, reduce energy consumption, and support domestic manufacturing.
- Develop a national freight plan and upgrade our nation’s freight vehicle fleet, and support local port clean-up plans to drive clean freight movement.
Support Domestic Manufacturers in Making the Vehicles, Systems, and Component Parts Demanded by Clean, Efficient Public Transit and Freight Movement Systems
- Support American manufacturers in retooling and making new investments in clean truck, transit vehicle, and component part manufacturing
- Improve transparency and accountability of domestic content requirements and introducing incentives to increase domestic content
- Encourage product standardization and improve procurement practices
- Invest in research and development programs that create new technologies and support the commercialization of these products