‘Green locomotives’ are job creators for Pennsylvania, report finds

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A new report from the Keystone Research Center has found that the production of “green locomotives” in Erie, Pa., could mean thousands of additional jobs.

In cooperation with United Electric, the Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey’s (D-PA) office, the center released its job-creation potential report on Tuesday. The report comes in the wake of the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment that illustrated the need for upgrading rail operations across the United States. Written by the PERI Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the study calculates the impact that expanding “green locomotive” manufacturing at the Lawrence Park plant of Westinghouse Air Brake Technology will have on jobs in Erie County, across Pennsylvania, and the United States.

According to the report, about 26,000 old, polluting locomotives are in need of replacement across the country. Replacing them with 1,000 “green locomotives” per year would create between 3,400 and 5,100 jobs at the Lawrence Park facility, between 3,060 to 5,100 jobs in Erie County, and between 9,860 to 14,960 jobs across the U.S.

“America needs to upgrade existing rail, lay new rail lines in Appalachia and across the country, and manufacture green locomotives in our state and region,” Keystone Research Center executive director and ReImagine Appalachia co-director Stephen Herzenberg said. “This study shows that scaling up green locomotive production in Erie to feed a sustainable U.S. rail system could be a game-changer for economic opportunity in Northwest PA.”