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Buy America

What’s New

  • FTA Seeks Comments on Proposed Buy America Waiver for Motor Brakes and Machinery Brakes for the SE 3rd Avenue Bridge Modification in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. FTA published a Notice of Proposed Buy America Waiver for Motor Brakes and Machinery Brakes for the SE Third Avenue Bascule Bridge Modification in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the Federal Register. The brake units are required for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) as part of the Wave Streetcar project. The size of the disc and drum brakes required for this bridge are not domestically available, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) granted FDOT waivers for this equipment for another project. FTA is providing notice of the waiver request and seeks public comment before deciding whether to grant the request. To comment on the proposed waiver, go to before November 10, 2017. FTA will publish a final waiver after reviewing any comments received.

  • As part of an interagency agreement between FTA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), and with participation from the Georgia MEP located at Georgia Tech, a Buy America Transit Supply Chain Connectivity was conducted on the last day of the APTA Annual Meeting and Expo in Atlanta on October 11, 2017. More than 60 people attended. The forum brought together large transit Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) from both the rail and bus sectors with smaller, qualified and interested U.S. manufacturers – mainly from Georgia and the southeast region of the U.S. – to facilitate the use of a higher percentage of domestic suppliers in transit products and systems. It provided a venue for approximately three dozen smaller manufacturers to learn what products are needed and find out more about investments they need to consider when entering the transit industry. The forum included more than 70 introductory, private meetings between participating OEMs and prospective suppliers. The following OEMs participated: Alexander Dennis; Kiepe Electric Inc.; Siemens; United Rail, Inc.; and Stadler Rail.

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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