BOSTON- State Representative Shawn Dooley (R- Norfolk) announced today that he has submitted a formal information request with Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) General Manager Steve Poftak. The request asks for detailed information on the MBTA’s relationship with China Railway and Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), a Chinese Government state-owned subsidiary that the MBTA has tasked with manufacturing new cars for Boston’s Orange Line. Last month Dooley filed a bill (H.2691) in the Massachusetts Legislature that would prohibit the MBTA and the Commonwealth from contracting any further with companies owned or supported by countries with nonmarket economies, citing cybersecurity concerns; unfair trade practices, and the safety; quality; and security of our critical infrastructure.
In the letter Dooley demands the MBTA support their claim that the cars are being “built” in CRRC’s Springfield plant by requesting that the MBTA specifically enumerate which components are purchased from American companies (as well as which companies) and which ones have been shipped in from China to simply be assembled here. He calls the use of the word “built” disingenuous if the majority of the parts are assembled “in China by Chinese workers at low wages.” Dooley also asks the MBTA to provide information on how many jobs created by this project have actually gone to Massachusetts residents versus how many jobs have to gone to citizens of other states and Chinese nationals.
Responding to reports that in November 2017 several fully assembled CRRC MBTA cars were to be shipped from the Port of Shanghai to Boston, Dooley also requests that the MBTA disclose if these cars were put into service as well as the quality and safety reports on the cars. If these cars were put into service, Dooley asks how that balances with the MBTA’s assertion that these cars are all made in the US and there is no possibility for Chinese government interference since it is all being controlled in the Springfield facility.
“The experts have spoken on this issue” said Dooley. “Our critical infrastructure is a proven opportunity for bad state actors to embed harmful technology, including various forms of spyware and malware, that can give them the ability to hack into our systems. The MBTA has assured us that we do not need to worry as CRRC is simply the cheapest option, and they are manufacturing the cars here using American parts and American jobs. I hope they are right, but they have not provided any information to back this claim up. The citizens of Massachusetts deserve to know that they are safe and that our state government is doing all it can to protect them.”