Louisville company helps to keep nation's rail lines safe
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's a Louisville plant that produces high-tech products to help keep the nation's rail and commuter lines safe.
On Friday an official of the Obama administration visited the plant to help drum up support for legislation now before Congress.
The 280 workers at the giant Siemens plant off Nelson Miller Parkway in Eastern Jefferson County manufacture highly sophisticated electronic equipment.
In fact, the company recently helped to install and operate the giant video screen unveiled Derby Week at Churchill Downs.
But most of the work now underway at the plant involves modernizing a train control system for the New York City Transit Authority.
U. S. Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo paid a visit to the Louisville plant to check out the work being done there and to urge support for the Grow America Act.
It is legislation now before Congress that would invest billions of dollars to upgrade the nation's rail network. A total of $19 billion would go toward the rail industry as part of a $302 billion package.
Szabo told the Siemens workers on Friday that the legislation would help to create more jobs and make the nation's rail lines safer and more secure for the public.
"It's going to prevent train accidents and save lives," Szabo told the employees gathered in the lobby of the plant, "it also means more jobs, Siemens has recently made a hundred additional hires across the country including several new positions here in Louisville."
But given the current toxic political climate in Washington D.C. getting any legislation through Congress seems a long shot.
Szabo thinks not, "If we continue to talk about what America's transportation needs are, I believe there is a chance for Congress to follow."
The president and CEO of the Siemens Freight and Products business unit that is headquartered in Louisville is Kevin Riddett.
He told WDRB News that passage of the Grow America Act would mean more jobs in Kentucky.
"As we grow in the U.S. the obvious place for us to grow is where we are today, here in Louisville and in Mart ion, Kentucky where we have large manufacturing plants and where it is a perfect place for that to happen," he says.
Siemens has 630 workers at eight locations in Kentucky.
Siemens USA is a subsidiary of Siemens AG, a giant global company based in Germany with its footprint in electronics and electrical engineering.