Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) Catches High-Speed Rail Authority Trying to Evade Buy America Law

UPDATE: Tim Sheehan of the Fresno Bee reported on this issue in his April 8, 2014 article State Seeks ‘Buy America’ Exemption for Prototype Bullet Trains.


Here is the text of a March 31, 2014 press release from Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) about its March 28, 2014 letter asking the federal government to uphold Buy America requirements for assembly of the first two prototype trains for California High-Speed Rail.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:  Aaron Fukuda
(559) 707-8928/afukuda77@gmail.com 

Central Valley Citizens Group Catches California High-Speed Rail Authority Trying to Evade Buy America Law

Asks Feds to Deny Waiver for Foreign Assembly of Prototype Trains

 

Hanford, CA — March 31, 2014 –  Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) asked the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) last Friday (March 28, 2014) to deny a February 28, 2014 request from the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) for a waiver from Buy America laws for assembly of two prototype trains.

“The California High-Speed Rail Authority routinely sends letters to federal agencies asking for waivers and exemptions without notifying the public,” Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) co-chairman Aaron Fukuda said on Friday. “We were angry this week when we discovered this letter on the Federal Railroad Administration website.”

For four reasons cited in the letter, CCHSRA objects to the Federal Railroad Administration allowing the California High-Speed Rail Authority to contract for foreign assembly of the trains:

  1. The California High-Speed Rail Authority Evaded Public Scrutiny of This Waiver Request and Disguised Its Intentions through Deceptive Reports
  2. The California High-Speed Rail Authority Neglected Reasonable Planning to Comply with the Federal Buy America Requirement, Despite Plenty of Time to Do So
  3. A Buy American Waiver Undermines a Major Purpose of California High-Speed Rail to Create Manufacturing Jobs in the United States
  4. A Buy American Waiver Sets a Poor Precedent for Future High-Speed Rail Materials and Facilities

Also of interest to CCHSRA is making sure the California High-Speed Rail Authority fulfills its requirement in state law to “make every effort to purchase high-speed train rolling stock and related equipment that are manufactured in California.”

“If the Federal Railroad Administration grants the waiver without legally-required detailed justification, we will appeal the decision on behalf of the people of the United States and California,” Fukuda said. “It’s time for some accountability for California High-Speed Rail.”

A copy of the letter (March 28, 2014 Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability [CCHSRA] Letter to Federal Railroad Administration to Deny Buy America Waiver to California High-Speed Rail Authority) is on the “>CCHSRA website at www.cchsra.org.

Citizens for California High Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group based in Kings County whose members reside in the city of Hanford and surrounding rural areas, along with other Californians who are affected by the high-speed rail. The group has been in the forefront since June 2011 attempting to get the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) and its board to be in full compliance with Proposition 1A which the state’s voters passed in November 2008.

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