Cornyn, Baldwin, Crapo, Brown Bill Will Protect Rail and Bus Manufacturing from China Threat
by John Cornyn on March 15, 2019 at 1:30 PM
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and I yesterday introduced the Transit Infrastructure Vehicle Security Act, which would prevent federal funds from being used by transit agencies to purchase rail cars or buses manufactured by Chinese government owned, controlled, or subsidized companies. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman, Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Ranking Member, Sherrod Brown (D-OH), are original cosponsors of the legislation.
China poses a clear and present danger to our national security and has already infiltrated our rail and bus manufacturing industries. The threat to our national security through the exploitation of our transportation and infrastructure sectors is one we should take seriously. This legislation will help safeguard against this threat, and I’m thankful for the support of my colleagues.
“China has made clear its intent to dismantle U.S. railcar manufacturing in its ‘Made in China 2025’ plan—our economic and national security demands that we address Chinese attempts to dominate industries that build our nation’s critical infrastructure,” said Sen. Baldwin. “That’s why I’m joining my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to introduce legislation to hold China accountable because we need to do all we can to support American workers and American-made products.”
“This strong bipartisan bill protects federal dollars from being spent on Chinese buses and railcars, and improves cybersecurity in public transportation,” said Sen. Brown. “Federal dollars should not support Chinese state-controlled enterprises that want to undermine U.S. manufacturers and overtake our supply chain that supports rail and bus manufacturing.”
The Chinese government continues to use a range of state subsidies and predatory practices to support its market ascension in certain sectors of the United States’ economy. Two of these sectors, rail manufacturing and bus manufacturing, are included as part of China’s “Made in China 2025” initiative, a plan targeting global dominance in areas that the Chinese government considers most strategic to its global aims.
Chinese state-owned and state-supported enterprises have used subsidized “bargain prices” well-below competitive market price to win contracts throughout the United States. A number of large, metropolitan areas have recently awarded rail rolling stock procurements to a Chinese state-owned enterprise. There are a number of threats these procurements pose including impeding economic competitiveness and overtaking the supply chains that support United States public transportation agencies. Chinese state-owned and state-supported enterprises have increased security vulnerabilities and create new risks for rolling stock procurements.
Specifically, the Transit Infrastructure Vehicle Security Act would prevent federal transit funds from being used by transit agencies to procure Chinese rail assets and ensure transit agencies develop and execute a cybersecurity plan.
- Limitation on Certain Rolling Stock Procurements: This legislation prevents federal transit dollars from being used to award a contract or subcontract for the procurement of passenger rail cars or transit buses to Chinese state-owned, controlled or subsidized enterprises. The bill would create a certification process for transit agencies to ensure their funds are not being used to purchase rolling stock from a covered manufacturer. A narrow exception would be made for transportation agencies with a pre-existing contract or subcontract with a covered rail rolling stock manufacturer executed prior to the date of enactment.
- Cybersecurity Certification: Given the level of technology and growing complexity of rail rolling stock assets, it is important that proper cybersecurity standards are in place. This legislation would require any transit operator that operates rail transit service to develop and execute a plan for identifying and reducing cybersecurity risks. Recipients of federal transit assistance would be required to review best practices and to identify any hardware and software components of new rolling stock assets that should undergo third-party testing.