March 30, 2009
Biden Hosts Town Hall Meeting at New Flyer Plant in St. Cloud, MN
The St. Cloud, MN, bus manufacturing plant of New Flyer of America Inc. was the setting March 19 when U.S. Vice President Joe Biden led a town hall meeting focusing on middle-class economic issues. Joining him at the New Flyer event were four members of the President’s cabinet: U.S. Secretaries of Transportation Ray LaHood, Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and Education Arne Duncan, as well as Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
“Our task today is to hear directly from middle-class folks and answer the questions they have about what the Recovery Act means for them,” said Vice President Biden, making reference to the positive impact the stimulus will have on transit agencies.
The St. Cloud plant represents key goals of ARRA: creating jobs for American workers and expanding public transportation – all while building a cleaner, more “green” economy. Biden called New Flyer a “pioneer” and “a model for other businesses.”
Paul Soubry, president and chief executive officer of New Flyer, cited the company’s role as “part of the solution to the economic situation. Not only does New Flyer provide clean transportation to middle class families, it also provides good jobs.”
The company reported that it has increased the size of its St. Cloud workforce to more than 650, an increase of more than 100 (approximately 20 percent) compared with the previous year. New Flyer also employs approximately 370 employees at its plant in Crookston, MN, up about 15 percent since the beginning of 2009.
New Flyer has demonstrated ongoing growth despite the economic downtown, which it attributes to increased ridership and growing environmental concerns.
“Now is the time to transform the way transportation serves the American people,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We need to promote strong and connected communities that provide safe and affordable access to work, medical services, schools, shopping, recreation and other essential activities.”
Vilsack called the New Flyer plant “a great example of how continued investment in research and production of alternative fuels will not only help improve the environment, but create much needed jobs in rural America.”