The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced an interagency agreement that will make it easier for manufacturers and transit agencies to identify domestically made products, such as rolling stock and other steel and iron components that comply with FTA’s “Buy America” rules requiring at least 60% of the components must be manufactured in the U.S.
The agreement, with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) also will foster a growing network of U.S. equipment manufacturers and potential suppliers.
“The Department of Transportation’s Buy America program promotes American jobs, encourages innovation and revitalizes our manufacturing sector as we build a strong domestic supply chain for our nation’s infrastructure needs,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We will continue to support programs like this one so that more of America’s hard-working families have access to good opportunities and a brighter future.”
Through Buy America, FTA helps to ensure that transit vans, buses, streetcars and railcars funded with taxpayer dollars are built in the U.S. using American-made materials and labor. As part of the agreement, NIST will help FTA identify U.S. companies that make or have the capability to make products for the transit industry that are particularly difficult to source or are currently unavailable in the U.S. This will help to maximize compliance and minimize waiver requests seeking Buy America exemptions from the U.S. Department of Transportation. NIST will also conduct a series of outreach events to connect equipment manufacturers with potential suppliers.
“Our goal is simply to make sure that we invest America’s taxpayer dollars into America’s transit workforce and industry,” said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff. “Between 2008 and 2012, FTA reduced the number of Buy America waivers allowing companies to source their materials off-shore from 37 down to just three, which clearly shows that our industry partners are finding new and innovative ways to make and assemble transit vehicles and other components here at home.”
Consistent with the Obama Administration’s efforts to boost domestic employment through infrastructure investment, FTA has dramatically strengthened its adherence and enforcement of its Buy America rules. FTA has vigorously investigated alleged violations and has also begun reviewing select rolling stock procurements to ensure that the vehicles rolling off the assembly line actually contained the percentage of U.S.-made infrastructure required under its regulations.