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Rep. Neal Says Restrictions On Chinese Rail Car Plant Can Be Cleared

Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Richard Neal said he believes restrictions placed upon the CRRC rail car facility in Springfield can be overcome. 

Neal helped negotiate the deal that, at least for now, keeps the Chinese-owned factory up and running. 

Some in Congress wanted to keep any public dollars from going to Chinese transit manufacturers. But the deal allows for some wiggle room. After two years, CRRC would only be able to renew or extend contracts with transit systems it had previous contracts with, and wouldn't be able to bring in new clients.

To perhaps have the restrictions eventually dropped, Neal said he's suggested to factory ownership to seek more domestic investment. He said more action from Washington can help, too.

A subway car under construction at CRRC's factory in Springfield.
Credit Adam Frenier / NEPR
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NEPR
A subway car under construction at CRRC's factory in Springfield.
A subway car at the CRRC factory in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Credit Adam Frenier / NEPR
/
NEPR
A subway car at the CRRC factory in Springfield, Massachusetts.

"I think that once we reach a broader agreement with the Chinese over trade practices, that it will avail itself to additional opportunities," Neal said.

The plant employs about 200 people. Neal said those jobs were "days" from going away, had a deal not been struck in Washington. 

Neal reminded reporters visiting the factory that there's no domestic competitor for what CRRC does. 

"When you just look here, where else does this happen?" Neal said. "And we've got it right here on Page Boulevard in Springfield." 

Workers at the CRRC rail car factory in Springfield pose with U.S. Rep. Richard Neal of Springfield and other local officials at the factory.
Credit Adam Frenier / NEPR
/
NEPR
Workers at the CRRC rail car factory in Springfield pose with U.S. Rep. Richard Neal of Springfield and other local officials at the factory.

Neal, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, shook hands with CRRC employees who gathered in the factory for a press event. He later posed for a group photo with workers, other local digitaries and company leadership.

There was even a banner hung high on the wall of the factory thanking Neal for his efforts. 

CRRC's Springfield factory has contracts with transit systems in Boston, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

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