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October 18, 2011 > California, first state in nation to pass Make It In America law

California, first state in nation to pass Make It In America law

Submitted By Donald Lathbury

Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), the author of Make It In America legislation designed to revitalize America's transportation manufacturing base, commends Governor Jerry Brown for signing the first "buy America" state law in the nation. Assembly Bill 1097, authored by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner and sponsored by the San Francisco-Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART), allows California public transit agencies to set higher American-made content standards for federally-funded buses and trains.

"When we purchase buses, trains and other transportation equipment with taxpayers' money, those investments can be used to help create jobs for our fellow Americans," said Garamendi. "My Make It In America transportation legislation, H.R. 613, would require more American content in transportation purchases using federal money. Until the legislation appears on the statute books, A.B. 1097 is a great model that I hope other states embrace. Public transit agencies should have enough flexibility to give preference to American manufacturers and employers. It just makes sense."

"Growing and protecting jobs has to be our top priority at every level of government and making sure taxpayer dollars for transit also boost jobs and manufacturing here in America is an important part of that effort," said Skinner. "While Congressman Garamendi continues his work for a stronger national approach, I'm pleased the nation's largest state is already on board now that A.B. 1097 has been signed into law."

Current "buy America" federal law requires 60 percent of all public transit purchases to be made in America. A.B. 1097 allows California public transit agencies to set guidelines beyond 60 percent, if applicable. Garamendi's H.R. 613, The Airports, Highways, High-Speed Rail, Trains and Transit: Make it in America Act, would increase the "buy America" requirement, increase domestic content provisions for airports and rolling stock from 60 percent to 100 percent over time, eliminate non-availability waivers and make similar waiver-reporting requirements across different modes of transportation. Both A.B. 1097 and H.R. 613 have been endorsed by BART, the nation's fifth largest and California's largest public transportation agency by ridership.

"I want to thank Assemblymember Nancy Skinner for her leadership in shepherding this law through the California legislature. I also want to thank Governor Jerry Brown for ensuring that California once again leads the nation in innovation and BART for its partnership to help create future American jobs. America will make it, when we Make It In America," concluded Garamendi.

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