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Senate bill promises new jobs for Oregon

Editor's note: This is the text of the floor speech Sen. Laurie Monnes-Anderson delivered Feb. 17 supporting Senate Bill 1556.

Senate Bill 1556 is a jobs bill, pure and simple. It has the potential of creating hundreds of manufacturing jobs here in Oregon.

This bill has a narrow focus. It relates only to transit agencies and their purchase of rolling stock: streetcars, trolleys, buses and cars are common examples.

By permitting transit agencies to give preference to manufacturers who exceed federal Buy America requirements, we can enable Oregon transit agencies to invest in American jobs.

This bill is a common-sense change that will help to grow American companies and American jobs.

Because of federal rules, if an agency wishes to give a preference to a bidder whose vehicle has more U.S. -made content than the 60 percent currently required by federal standards, the agency needs to be authorized to do so in statute to ensure eligibility for federal funds.

This bill is permissive and does not impose a new mandate on local transit agencies.

On the contrary, SB 1556 gives Oregon's communities greater control over how their public resources are spent and provides transit agencies with the opportunity to contribute further toward the creation and ongoing sustainability of good, well-paying jobs in Oregon and nationwide.

The bill will help grow jobs with Oregon employers such as Clackamas-based United Streetcar, the only modern streetcar company located in the United States and the first in the country to manufacture a Buy America compliant streetcar.

The growth of companies such as United Streetcar can have ripple effects throughout Oregon's economy, benefitting local manufacturers and creating jobs down the supply chain.

Mills Innovations, a small employer in Junction City, is just one example. Chief Executive Officer Dan Mills let me know their work with United Streetcar is revitalizing its previously struggling business. By enabling greater latitude for contracting, SB 1556 helps encourage growth in domestic manufacturing. 

I put forward SB 1556 because I believe Oregon's communities deserve the opportunity to invest more of their public transit funds in American jobs.



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