DOT, Commerce to partner for job-creating transportation projects

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank on Tuesday, Oct. 19, announced a partnership to encourage the creation of domestic manufacturing jobs and opportunities for U.S. suppliers through transportation investments.

The Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership will help to ensure manufacturers meet DOT’s strict “Buy America” and “Buy American” standards, connecting U.S. manufacturers and suppliers for work on highways, railways and transit projects, and in the process help to create jobs.

“Investment in transportation is a critical piece of President Obama’s American Jobs Act,” LaHood said. “Not only are we improving how we move people and goods, but we are strengthening our economy by providing opportunities for American companies and their employees to build our transportation system here at home.”

With a network in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, MEP serves more than 34,000 American suppliers, helping them to retool their manufacturing capabilities to meet demand, compete in the global marketplace and sell American-made products all over the world.

“This initiative is a win for workers and communities across America,” Blank said. “The Manufacturing Extension Partnership will connect U.S. manufacturers and suppliers with hundreds of millions of dollars in upcoming highway, railway and airport projects, providing new job opportunities in every corner of the country.”

MEP will leverage more than 1,300 manufacturing assistance field staff in more than 350 locations to provide knowledge of local manufacturing capabilities from across the nation. MEP will identify suppliers’ production and technical capabilities to match them up with viable business opportunities that otherwise may have gone to foreign suppliers, ensuring maximum economic benefit for taxpayer-funded transportation investments across all modes.