(Washington D.C., Tuesday, October 1, 2019) – In an era where bipartisanship is difficult to come by, Congress found something it agrees on – preventing the use of federal funding to purchase railcars from Chinese state-owned companies that are not competing on a level economic playing field and present significant cybersecurity threats to critical infrastructure.
Both the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) included language – known as the Transit Infrastructure Vehicle Security Act (TIVSA) – to do exactly that. The provision earned bipartisan support in both chambers, and is now heading to conference committee.
China is ambitiously expanding its geopolitical influence through its “New Silk Road” and “Made in China 2025” plans, with sights on American infrastructure. Through its government-owned corporation China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation Ltd (CRRC), they have aggressively entered public infrastructure bidding in major cities, already winning bids in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia.
Allowing Chinese influence into our major cities’ infrastructure prompts legitimate concerns, from market distortion to national security. This cannot continue to go unchecked. Congress must thwart this invasion by ensuring the inclusion of the critical TIVSA language in the final version of the NDAA.
Brigham McCown, chairman and founder, Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure, explains more about this issue.
DESPITE C-R-R-C’S PRO-JOB MESSAGING AN OXFORD ECONOMICS STUDY FOUND THAT FOR EVERY ONE BILLION DOLLARS AWARDED TO STATE-OWNED CHINESE BUSINESSES, THE U.S. STANDS TO LOSE BETWEEN THREE-THOUSAND AND FIVE-THOUSAND JOBS. AND SO BY UNDERPRICING PUBLIC TRANSIT BIDS, STATE-BACKED CORPORATIONS LIKE C-R-R-C CAN FORCE COMPETITORS AND DOMESTIC INDUSTRY OUT OF THE MARKET, BECAUSE THEY CAN NO LONGER AFFORD TO COMPETE. THIS ENABLES CHINESE INFLUENCE INTO OUR MAJOR CITIES’ INFRASTRUCTURE, AND THAT RAISES LEGITIMATE ECONOMIC CONCERNS.
BY ALLOWING CHINA ACCESS TO OUR TRANSIT INFRASTRUCTURE, IT RAISES SIGNIFICANT SECURITY CONCERNS BECAUSE IT SIMPLY ALLOWS UNFETTERED ACCESS TO KEY I-T INFRASTRUCTURE. CONGRESS HAS THE AUTHORITY AND DUTY TO ACT IN ORDER TO PREVENT THIS CRITICAL THREAT FROM MATERIALIZING. WITHOUT THE TRANSIT INFRASTRUCTURE VEHICLE SECURITY ACT, THE NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT WILL SIMPLY LACK AN ESSENTIAL INSTRUMENT FOR SAFE GUARDING NATIONAL SECURITY, ECONOMIC SECURITY, AND GOOD GOVERNANCE. CONGRESS MUST ACT, AND IT MUST ACT DECIDEDLY.
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