SEVEN QUESTIONS TO MTA
By Ilya Galak and Alan Galak
Our country once had probably the best manufacturing industries in the world.
As just about everyone can see, most of those jobs are now overseas.
For example, since 2000 more than 50,000 factories have closed their doors. The country lost 3.5 million manufacturing jobs, of which half a million were in high-tech industries such as telecommunications and electronics.
We are importing just about everything we use in our daily lives and then wonder why we are lacking jobs.
This letter is not focused on why manufacturing is vital to the economy, but if you have doubts, just go on Google and see for yourself all the evidence and studies coming from credible and professional sources which say that, without manufacturing, simply put, our country is doomed (1).
The addiction to cheap foreign labor at any price has gotten so extreme that, even as we speak, the MTA is planning to use Chinese steel in a massive project to replace the deck on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, even though, as the New York Times noted in an editorial on August 4th, 2013, “China has a very well-deserved reputation for producing inferior and often dangerous products.” That reputation was validated when California bought Chinese steel to renovate San Francisco’s Bay Bridge; a decision which led to delays and huge cost overruns because of faulty welds by the Chinese steel manufacturer (2).
So, our questions to MTA are:
1. Are you familiar with the situation in California?
2. Are You going to purchase the steel from China directly or through the general contractor?
3. How much are you going to pay for the Chinese steel (directly to Chinese manufacturer, to the middle company or to general contractor)?
4. Did the MTA (or general contractor) ask for a quote from US manufacturers?
5. If yes, we would like to see all the proposals from Chinese and American manufacturers. What is the difference in price, service, capability to do the project, quality of the steel, etc…? If not – why didn’t the MTA ask American manufacturers?
6. According Tom Prendergast, Chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority: “The MTA tried diligently to find an American fabricator of the orthotropic steel decks, working directly with Pennsylvania steel companies and reaching out through the General Contractors Association. Not a single American fabricator had the capacity, the experience and the willingness to tackle the job. Contrary to some claims, price was not a factor in this decision. The American steel industry has not focused on the process of fabricating orthotropic steel decks for projects of this size and complexity, while fabricators in other countries have specialized in it. With no American firms willing to commit to fabricating the orthotropic steel panels, the work was subcontracted to firms in China, which are being held to exacting safety and quality standards” (3). As far as we know, the two factories in Pennsylvania did bid on the project and wanted to do it. Where is the truth?
7. According Tom Prendergast: “Not a single American fabricator had the capacity, the experience and the willingness to tackle the job. Contrary to some claims, price was not a factor in this decision. The American steel industry has not focused on the process of fabricating orthotropic steel decks for projects of this size and complexity, while fabricators in other countries have specialized in it.”
Adams Otis (Daily news) reports that the MTA said U.S. production of the renovated steel means it “would cost another $100 million to keep the project in America” (4). So we can do it, just more expensive. Where is the truth?
We do not want to be blind. We want to know the real answer.
(1) A Made In The USA Party’s time has surely come
(2) Make It in the USA https://statenislandpolitics.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/2853/
(3) The MTA proudly supports U.S. jobs
(4) Could NYC be headed for another Bay Bridge “fiasco?” (Why is the renovation of the Verrazano Bridge being outsourced to China?)