Sparked by a groundswell of concern over jobs and the economy among transit suppliers — and at the urging of several U.S. lawmakers — a group of companies has banded together to form "U.S. Transit Suppliers Mean Business," a coalition created to collectively urge Congress to refine Buy America regulations as they relate to transit projects.
The new coalition, comprised primarily of public transit suppliers, is led by Cubic Corp., and so far includes GFI-GENFARE, Colorado Railcar, Gillig Corp., Motor Coach Industries Inc. and DRI.
“The Buy America Act needs a congressional ‘tune-up,’” said Richard Trenery, spokesperson for the coalition. “This new coalition has been formed to pinpoint steps to improve the Buy America provisions to ensure implementation of the intent of Congress. Proper application of the Buy America provi-sions will provide for more American jobs, boost the U.S. economy, and enhance tax revenues while providing for free and open trade. Without congressional action, thousands of American jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of American-made products are in jeopardy,” said Trenery.
When federal dollars are used to fund transit projects, all bidders are required to comply with Buy America regulations.
Several lawmakers have expressed their strong concern to the transit supplier industry and federal regulators that inconsistencies exist between some interpretations and applications of the regulations and the intent of Congress as originally expressed. The coalition is working closely with federal legislators to realign regulatory decision-making with the letter and spirit of the law.
To provide the necessary tools and clarity to aid and support decision-making under the act, the coalition is advocating a simple, four-step legislative “tune-up” of the act:
1. Eliminate the over-one-decade-old “temporary” exemption related to microprocessors;
2. Restrict the usage of waivers;
3. Clarify and tighten the definition of “manufactured product”; and
4. Ensure all federal regulatory agency decisions involving Buy America are subject to review under the Administrative Procedures Act.
The two most critical economic issues today are “jobs” and the “deficit.” Enforcing the intent of Congress in the Buy America Act will do a great deal to help both issues.
“By taking action, Congress can immediately benefit American taxpayers, workers and businesses. In a struggling economy, U.S. citizens want their tax money to support Americans and American-made products,” said Brian Macleod, senior vice president of Gillig Corp. “With a little effort, Congress can save jobs and help preserve our economy.”