Senators threaten Metro funding over Chinese manufacturer

WASHINGTON — Federal lawmakers say they'll approve badly needed funding for Washington's transit system, but only if it avoids buying new rail cars from China.

The Washington Post reported Saturday that U.S. Senators from Virginia and Maryland proposed the idea in new legislation. It reflects growing concerns that China's state-owned rail company could hurt American manufacturers and make the system vulnerable to cyberespionage.

Dave Smolensky, spokesman for the China Railway Rolling Stock Corp, dismissed the espionage concerns. The company also said the U.S. should be promoting competition.

The company has won four major U.S. rail car contracts. It is pursuing a Metro contract worth more than $1 billion to build up to 800 of the new rail cars.

There are no U.S. transit rail car manufacturers. The bidding deadline is May 31.

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Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com

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