PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Local elected officials are trying to put the heat on SEPTA to buy its new train cars from a Philadelphia manufacturing plant. They fear hundreds of area jobs will be lost if the contract goes overseas.
SEPTA will spend $140 million on the new cars and Councilman David Oh is leading the charge to get the transit agency to spend it here.READ MORE: Gas Prices Rise In New Jersey, Around Nation Amid High Crude Prices
“Imagine the wage tax, the real estate tax, the sales tax that our community needs, all the jobs,” said Oh.
Manufacturing jobs once made Philadelphia’s economy and their loss decimated it but efforts to bring it back included attracting train-maker Hyundai-Rotem to South Philadelphia. Oh says losing the plant would set the city back.
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“Our city’s future depends on not letting the world know we lost a train manufacturer because we bought our trains somewhere else. That would be ridiculous, right?”
SEPTA spokesman Andrew Bush declined to discuss the bids but says its discretion is limited.
“We’re required to go with the lowest responsible bidder.”
Union leader Joe Coccio says the emphasis should be on responsible.MORE NEWS: Inaugural Penn Relays 5K Underway At Penn Park
“Why SEPTA would even consider for one minute any contract to go to China is beyond me. What’s china ever done for SEPTA? Nothing.”