A loan application to build a Las Vegas high-speed rail line was rejected because the operator wanted to use foreign-built trains:
The Department has made clear that we prioritize projects that build a foundation for economic competitiveness by advancing domestic rail manufacturing in the United States. The FRA expects recipients of RRIF loans to purchase steel, iron, and other manufactured goods produced in the United States for their projects, regardless of whether the rolling stock is separately financed.
We recognize that a foreign equipment manufacturer may face challenges in meeting these Buy America requirements when responding to an initial opportunity in the United States for a limited order.
Note that the loan was not going to be spent on the train-sets. They would have been purchased separately. But the mere fact that any non-US goods were to be used was enough to kill the project.
And how exactly is this rigid adherence to Buy-America supposed to create jobs?
Now some would argue that this was a bad project anyway. The line would have terminated too far from Los Angeles to attract enough ridership. I agree with that point, but the rejection letter makes no mention of this. So what happens when the next HSR application comes along — and it is a really solid application. Will the DOT again make unreasonable requirements on rolling stock? There is no domestic HSR manufacturing, and it is unrealistic to expect HSR manufacturers to magically spring out of nothingness to market trains for a project.
What we have here is a classic chicken-and-egg problem. Domestic HSR manufacturing cannot exist without HSR lines being built. And HSR lines cannot be built if the DOT mandates domestic rolling stock.