Will HSR Jobs Go Overseas?

Joan Lowy suggests that the Obama administration's claim that the high-speed rail initiative will create jobs overlooks the fact that the expertise is in Europe and Asia and foreign firms will likely be needed to develop HSR quickly.

Lowy writes, "...the jobs to design and make the rail cars and engines, signaling and track for the fastest trains will mainly go abroad to the European and Asian companies because it will take time for the U.S. to develop its own domestic high-speed rail industry, rail experts said. There will be U.S. manufacturing and engineering jobs for slower trains often described as "higher speed" or "midspeed." Much of the domestic high-speed work, however, will be the kind of construction and earth-moving work typical of highway projects, they said."

Full Story: SPIN METER: Many high-speed rail jobs could go to foreign companies with fast-train experience



Foreign companies does not necessarily equate to foreign jobs

We have to face the fact that if HSR is going to take hold in this country, that we must consult with the experts-ie the Europeans and Asians. The most productive countries recruit the best from around the world to assist them with their industries. Other countries have recruited American companies to help start their industries. So why can it not happen the other way around? Had we taken rail transportation much more seriously and much earlier, we would not be in such dilema.

However, just because we have foreign companies contracted to do the work, doesn't mean that jobs are going to be outsourced. Plenty of Americans work for foreign companies.

In case anyone has noticed, trains are big, very big, meaning they're very costly to ship. That means the trains will have to be assembled in the US. Being willing to create plants in the US, will increase a companies likleyhood of awarded a contract. The tracks will eventually be installed by Americans. European companies will have to set up a base in the US, and yes engineers and executives from Europe will have to come here and maintain oversight. However, Europeans can run these companies alone.

The nature of HSR will make it too difficult for a foreign company to do the work in their homebase.

Over time, as Americans understand how HSR works, we will see more American arise and even out-compete the Europeans and Asians.

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