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Buy America

What’s New

  • On Wednesday, October 11, 2017, the Federal Transit Administration and the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership will host a Buy America Transit Supply Chain Connectivity Forum in Atlanta, GA. Part of the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) 2017 Annual Meeting and Expo, this forum (8 a.m.-5 p.m. EDT) is designed to bring large transit original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier 1 suppliers together with smaller, capable and interested U.S. manufacturers to facilitate the use of a higher percentage of domestic suppliers in transit products and systems. Registration for the event is required. During a recent Connectivity Forum in June 2017, more than 60 attendees participated, which matched large Original Equipment Manufacturers in the rail industry with 48 Tier 1 Suppliers as well as with smaller, capable, local manufacturers. View FTA's presentation providing an overview of FTA’s Buy America requirements and what’s new under the FAST Act.

  • FTA's Buy America Handbook, which provides grantees, manufacturers, and subcontractors and suppliers with the steps necessary to meet pre-award audit and post-delivery Buy America audit requirements, brings greater uniformity to the way the industry conducts and documents pre-award and post-delivery audits of rolling stock purchases. The handbook applies to the procurement of rolling stock used in revenue service, which includes new buses, vans, cars, railcars, locomotives, trolley cars, trolley buses, ferry boats, and vehicles used for guideways and incline planes, and intended for public transportation of passengers. It describes approaches and recommends processes for grantees as they prepare to conduct pre-award and post-delivery vehicle audits from the solicitation phase through the final acceptance of vehicles. It also includes examples of how to calculate domestic content, and verify and document compliance for all participating parties as well as sample forms and templates. The effective date of the Buy America Handbook was March 21, 2017.

Recent Policy Guidance

Buy America Overview

FTA’s Buy America requirements prevent FTA from obligating an amount that may be appropriated to carry out its program for a project unless “the steel, iron, and manufactured goods used in the project are produced in the United States.” 49 U.S.C. § 5323(j)(1). FTA’s Buy America requirements apply to third-party procurements by FTA grant recipients. A Grantee must include in its bid or request for proposal (RFP) specification for procurement of steel, iron or manufactured goods (including rolling stock) an appropriate notice of the Buy America provision and require, as a condition of responsiveness, that the bidder or offeror submit with the bid or offer a completed Buy America certificate in accordance with 49 CFR §§661.6 or 661.12.

Under limited circumstances, FTA may waive Buy America if FTA finds that: (1) application of Buy America is inconsistent with the public interest; (2) the steel, iron, and goods produced in the U.S. are not produced in a sufficient and reasonably available amount or are not of a satisfactory quality; or (3) including domestic material will increase the cost of the overall project by more than 25 percent for rolling stock. The process for seeking a waiver is set forth in 49 CFR part 661.  Grantees are encouraged to apply for a waiver as soon as possible and to provide detailed requests in order to expedite FTA’s review of waiver requests.  FTA’s determination on waiver requests will be published in the Federal Register for notice and comment.

When procuring rolling stock, which includes train control, communication, traction power equipment, and rolling stock prototypes, the cost of the components and subcomponents produced in the U.S. must be more than:

  • more than 60 percent for FY2016 and FY2017
  • more than 65 percent for FY2018 and FY2019
  • more than 70 percent for FY2020 and beyond

Final assembly for rolling stock also must occur in the U.S. Additionally, rolling stock procurements are subject to the pre-award and post-delivery Buy America audit provisions set forth in 49 U.S.C. § 5323(m) and 49 CFR part 663.

The phased increase in domestic content was included in the FAST Act. Please consult the Buy America FAST Act Fact Sheet for more information.

Unlike rolling stock, manufactured goods must be 100 percent produced in the U.S. A manufactured good is considered produced in the United States if: (1) All of the manufacturing processes for the product take place in the United States; and (2) All of the components of the product are of U.S. origin. A component is considered of U.S. origin if it is manufactured in the United States, regardless of the origin of its subcomponents. 49 CFR 661.5(d). FTA has issued a number of guidance letters discussing manufactured goods. See Buy America Guidance Letters.

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