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Congress Intends to Ban Chinese Rail Cars

The U.S. is an expensive place to build transit resources. A move from Congress to ban Chinese rail cars over espionage fears may exacerbate that problem.
March 25, 2019, 10am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Some in Congress hope to ban the purchase of Chinese rail cars from China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation, to avoid the becoming the site of spying or hacking. American public transportation has been targeted by hackers in the past. "Chinese hackers have not been accused of the transit ransomware attacks, but they have been blamed for hacking other U.S. government agencies and businesses in an effort to gain intelligence and trade secrets," Candice Norwood reports for Governing.

"The increasing role of the China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. (CRRC) has prompted a bipartisan group of U.S. senators to introduce legislation that would prevent transit agencies from using federal funding for rail-car contracts with companies that are owned, controlled or subsidized by China," Norwood reports. The company has already sold rail cars to Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston.

Transit agencies generally choose the lowest bid for equipment. Doing otherwise would likely make transit projects more expensive, a problem the U.S. already struggles with. Officials from the Washington D.C. region's WMATA have suggested that if the federal government wants to keep their agency from using the most affordable option, the federal government should provide the funds to cover the difference.

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Published on Monday, March 18, 2019 in Governing
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