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Notice of Buy America Waiver

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Notice of Buy America Waiver

Stephen P. Wood
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
April 20, 2015

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 75 (Monday, April 20, 2015)]
[Pages 21799-21800]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-08955]

[[Page 21799]]



National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2015-0020]

Notice of Buy America Waiver

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of Buy America waiver.


SUMMARY: This notice provides NHTSA's finding with respect to a request 
to waive the requirements of Buy America from the New York Governor's 
Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC). NHTSA finds that a non-availability 
waiver of the Buy America requirement is appropriate for the purchase 
of 205 Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Tablet packages using Federal highway 
traffic safety grant funds because there are no suitable products 
produced in the United States.

DATES: The effective date of this waiver is April 30, 2015. Written 
comments regarding this notice may be submitted to NHTSA and must be 
received on or before: May 5, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Written comments may be submitted using any one of the 
following methods:
     Mail: Docket Management Facility, M-30, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, West Building, Ground Floor, Rm. W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.
     Fax: Written comments may be faxed to (202) 493-2251.
     Internet: To submit comments electronically, go to the 
Federal regulations Web site at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
online instructions for submitting comments.
     Hand Delivery: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time, 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    Instructions: All comments submitted in relation to this waiver 
must include the agency name and docket number. Please note that all 
comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. You 
may also call the Docket at 202-366-9324.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For program issues, contact Barbara 
Sauers, Office of Regional Operations and Program Delivery, NHTSA 
(phone: 202-366-0144). For legal issues, contact Andrew DiMarsico, 
Office of Chief Counsel, NHTSA (phone: 202-366-5263). You may send mail 
to these officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice provides NHTSA's finding that a 
waiver of the Buy America requirement, 23 U.S.C. 313, is appropriate 
for New York's GTSC to purchase Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) 
Tablet packages using grant funds authorized under 23 U.S.C. 405(d) 
(section 405) and its predecessor, 23 U.S.C. 410(d) (section 410).\1\ 
Section 405(d) funds are available for use by State highway safety 
programs to support effective programs to reduce driving under the 
influence of alcohol, drugs, or the combination of alcohol and drugs, 
including enforcement efforts. 23 U.S.C. 405(d). States may use Section 
405(d) grant funds for drug recognition expert training for law 
enforcement and equipment and related expenditures used in connection 
with impaired driving enforcement. States may use Section 410 grant 
funds for the procurement of technology and equipment, including video 
equipment and passive alcohol sensors, to counter directly impaired 
operation of motor vehicles.

    \1\ 23 U.S.C. 410 was repealed by the Moving Ahead for Progress 
in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act, Public Law 112-141 section 
31109(d), 126 Stat. 756 (2012), and recodified at 23 U.S.C. 405(d).

    Buy America provides that NHTSA ``shall not obligate any funds 
authorized to be appropriated to carry out the Surface Transportation 
Assistance Act of 1982 (96 Stat. 2097) or [Title 23] and administered 
by the Department of Transportation, unless steel, iron, and 
manufactured products used in such project are produced in the United 
States.'' 23 U.S.C. 313. However, NHTSA may waive those requirements if 
``(1) their application would be inconsistent with the public interest; 
(2) such materials and products are not produced in the United States 
in sufficient and reasonably available quantities and of a satisfactory 
quality; or (3) the inclusion of domestic material will increase the 
cost of the overall project contract by more than 25 percent.'' 23 
U.S.C. 313(b). In this instance, NHTSA has determined that non-
availability waivers are appropriate for the tablet packages that New 
York's GTSC seeks to purchase using Federal grant funds.
    The GTSC seeks a waiver to purchase 205 Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 
Tablet packages, including a tablet, power cord, HD card, and case, at 
$529 per unit to be used by New York's Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) 
to conduct drug impaired driving evaluations in the field. New York 
tested three tablets, including the Samsung Note, a Lenovo ThinkPad, 
and an Asus, to determine which tablet was best suited to meet the 
GTSC's needs. All of the tablets tested are manufactured outside the 
United States: The Samsung tablet tested is made in Vietnam, and the 
ThinkPad and Asus tablets are made in China. New York states that the 
most important feature needed on the tablet is a stylus that is capable 
of drawing clear graphics related to the various tests conducted during 
the course of an evaluation. New York states that the stylus is 
important because the DREs need a drawing capability to fill out the 
multiple images on a Drug Influence Evaluation form. For example, DREs 
may use a stylus to draw dots on a diagram of an arm to signify drug 
track marks and to indicate on a diagram the exact location a suspect 
touches on his or her face when asked to touch a finger to the nose or 
other areas on the face. New York states that a stylus is necessary to 
perform these tasks. Further, a stylus will enable a DRE to use these 
tablet functions while wearing gloves in cold field conditions.
    The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 was selected by GTSC because it has an 
S Pen that, according to New York, allows for smooth writing and 
drawing. The Samsung Note is also preferred because the Samsung S Pen 
has a dedicated slot in the tablet and does not require additional 
batteries, such that it is lighter than other actively digitized 
styluses. The Samsung Note has an 8 megapixel camera with flash and can 
take videos. It has a 2560 x 1600 pixel resolution that is able to 
distinguish between a finger and a stylus and can display its screen 
onto a television using an HDMI adapter. It has a quad core 1.3 GHz 
processor and 3 GB of ram. It also has a 32 GB hard drive, which New 
York states is needed to ensure that the DREs do not run out of space. 
New York also states that the Samsung Note has a more than 9 hour 
battery life when in use and can last up to 200 hours while idling. 
Finally, the Samsung Note is an Android device that runs on the Android 
KitKat 4.4.2 operating system, which is compatible with the application 
that will be used by DREs to capture evaluation data in the field on 
the tablets that the DREs will then upload to the DRE database.
    New York's GTSC conducted phone calls, emails, and web searches, 
but was unable to identify any domestically manufactured tablet 
packages. NHTSA

[[Page 21800]]

conducted similar assessments \2\ and was unable to locate domestic 
manufacturers of tablet packages with the specifications required by 
New York's GTSC. Through this assessment, NHTSA learned that Union 
Built PC, a Maryland-based hardware and software company, assembles 
tablets in the United States.\3\ Union Built PC produces one tablet, 
the UBW-Q410. The UBW-Q410 runs on an Android 4.1.1 operating system. 
It has a 1.5 GHz Quad Core processor and 3 GB of ram. It has a max 
resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels and a 5 megapixel camera. Unlike the 
Samsung Note, the UBW-Q410 is not sold with a stylus. Customers may 
purchase this tablet through Union Built PC's Web site. Although this 
tablet is made in the United States, it appears insufficient to meet 
the New York GTSC's purposes because it is not designed for use with a 
stylus. Since NHTSA agrees that a tablet package that meets the 
requirements identified by GTSC for use by its DREs is unavailable from 
a domestic manufacturer, the Buy America waiver is appropriate. NHTSA 
invites public comment on this conclusion.

    \2\ NHTSA conducted internet searches and reviewed several Web 
sites that catalog domestic made products: www.usaonly.us; 
www.americansworking.com; www.madeinamericaforever.com; 
www.unionbuiltpc.com; www.madeinusa.org; and 
    \3\ Union Built PC's internet Web site states that final 
assembly and/or configuration of its products occur in the United 
States and that it uses foreign and domestic parts.

    In light of the above discussion, and pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 
313(b)(2), NHTSA finds that it is appropriate to grant a waiver from 
the Buy America requirements to GTSC in order to purchase 205 Samsung 
Galaxy Note Tablets. This waiver applies to New York and all other 
States seeking to use section 405(d) and eligible section 410 funds to 
purchase Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Tablet packages for the purposes 
mentioned herein. This waiver will continue through fiscal year 2015 
and will allow the purchase of these items as required for New York's 
GTSC. Accordingly, this waiver will expire at the conclusion of fiscal 
year 2015 (September 30, 2015). In accordance with the provisions of 
Section 117 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient 
Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy of Users Technical Corrections Act 
of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-244, 122 Stat. 1572), NHTSA is providing this 
notice as its finding that a waiver of the Buy America requirements is 
appropriate for the Samsung Galaxy Note Tablet packages.
    Written comments on this finding may be submitted through any of 
the methods discussed above. NHTSA may reconsider this finding if, 
through comment, it learns of additional relevant information regarding 
its decision to grant the New York GTSC's waiver request.
    This finding should not be construed as an endorsement or approval 
of any products by NHTSA or the U.S. Department of Transportation. The 
United States Government does not endorse products or manufacturers.

    Authority: 23 U.S.C. 313; Pub. L. 110-161.

    Issued in Washington, DC, under authority delegated in 49 CFR 
Stephen P. Wood,
Acting Chief Counsel.
[FR Doc. 2015-08955 Filed 4-17-15; 8:45 am]

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