Home Page About Us Contribute

Escort, Inc.

Tweets by @CrittendenAuto

By accessing/using The Crittenden Automotive Library/CarsAndRacingStuff.com, you signify your agreement with the Terms of Use on our Legal Information page. Our Privacy Policy is also available there.

Buy America Waiver Notification

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Buy America Waiver Notification

Gregory G. Nadeau
Federal Highway Administration
May 27, 2015

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 101 (Wednesday, May 27, 2015)]
[Pages 30319-30320]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-12759]



Federal Highway Administration

Buy America Waiver Notification

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: This notice provides information regarding FHWA's finding that 
a Buy America waiver is appropriate for the obligation of Federal-aid 
funds for 21 State projects involving the acquisition of vehicles and 
equipment on the condition that they be assembled in the U.S.

DATES: The effective date of the waiver is May 28, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions about this notice, 
please contact Mr. Gerald Yakowenko, FHWA Office of Program 
Administration, 202-366-1562, or via email at gerald.yakowenko@dot.gov. 
For legal questions, please contact Mr. Jomar Maldonado, FHWA Office of 
the Chief Counsel, 202-366-1373, or via email at 
jomar.maldonado@dot.gov. Office hours for the FHWA are from 8:00 a.m. 
to 4:30 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.


Electronic Access

    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded from the 
Federal Register's home page at http://www.archives.gov and the 
Government Printing Office's database at http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara.


    This notice provides information regarding FHWA's finding that a 
Buy America waiver is appropriate for the obligation of Federal-aid 
funds for 21 State projects involving the acquisition of vehicles 
(including sedans, vans, pickups, trucks, buses, and street sweepers) 
and equipment (such as snooper truck and trail grooming equipment) on 
the condition that they be assembled in the U.S. The waiver would apply 
to approximately 249 vehicles. The requests, available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/construction/contracts/cmaq150325.cfm, are 
incorporated by reference into this notice. These projects are being 
undertaken to implement air quality improvement, safety, and mobility 
goals under FHWA's Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement 
Program; National Bridge and Tunnel Inventory and Inspection Program; 
and the Recreational Trails Program.
    Title 23, Code of Federal Regulations, section 635.410 requires 
that steel or iron materials (including protective coatings) that will 
be permanently incorporated in a Federal-aid project must be 
manufactured in the U.S. For FHWA, this means that all the processes 
that modified the chemical content, physical shape or size, or final 
finish of the material (from initial melting and mixing, continuing 
through the bending and coating) occurred in the U.S. The statute and 
regulations create a process for granting waivers from the Buy America 
requirements when its application would be inconsistent with the public 
interest or when satisfactory quality domestic steel and iron products 
are not sufficiently available. In 1983, FHWA determined that it was 
both in the public interest and consistent with the legislative intent 
to waive Buy America for manufactured products other than steel 
manufactured products. However, FHWA's national waiver for manufactured 
products does not apply to the requests in this notice because they 
involve predominately steel and iron manufactured products. The FHWA's 
Buy America requirements do not have special provisions for applying 
Buy America to ``rolling stock'' such as vehicles or vehicle components 
(see 49 U.S.C. 5323(j)(2)(C), 49 CFR 661.11, and 49 U.S.C. 
24405(a)(2)(C) for examples of Buy America rolling stock provisions for 
other DOT agencies).
    Based on all the information available to the agency, FHWA 
concludes that there are no domestic manufacturers that produce the 
vehicles and vehicle components identified in this notice in such a way 
that their steel and iron elements are manufactured domestically. The 
FHWA's Buy America requirements were tailored to the types of products 
that are typically used in highway construction, which generally meet 
the requirement that steel and iron materials be manufactured 
domestically. In today's global industry, vehicles are assembled with 
iron and steel components that are manufactured all over the world. The 
FHWA is not aware of any domestically produced vehicle on the market 
that meets FHWA's Buy America requirement to have all its iron and 
steel be manufactured exclusively in the U.S. For example, the 
Chevrolet Volt, which was identified by many commenters in a November 
21, 2011, Federal Register Notice (76 FR 72027) as a car that is made 
in the U.S., is comprised of only 45 percent of U.S. and Canadian 
content according to the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration's Part 583 American Automobile Labeling Act Report Web

[[Page 30320]]

page (http://www.nhtsa.gov/Laws+&+Regulations/Part+583+American+Automobile+Labeling+Act+(AALA)+Reports). Moreover, 
there is no indication of how much of this 45 percent content is U.S.-
manufactured (from initial melting and mixing) iron and steel content.
    In accordance with Division K, section 122 of the ``Consolidated 
and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015'' (P.L. 113-235), FHWA 
published a notice of intent to issue a waiver on its Web site at 
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/construction/contracts/waivers.cfm?id=106 on 
March 25, 2015. The FHWA received six comments in response to the 
publication. Four commenters expressed support for granting the waiver. 
Two commenters opposed the waiver. One commenter opposed granting the 
waiver indicating that granting large quantity blanket waivers was not 
the intent of Congress. Another commenter argued for establishing a 
reduced share or a penalty program instead of granting the waiver. The 
commenter questioned the grant applicants' decisions to request funding 
for new vehicles instead of converting existing vehicles to Compressed 
Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles and to request funding for CNG school buses. 
The commenter also indicated the lack of connection between congestion 
and air quality mitigation with recreational trail snow grooming 
equipment. The FHWA notes that this equipment would be funded with 
funds made available under the Recreational Trails Program. None of the 
commenters objecting to the waiver identified a manufacturer that meets 
the Buy America requirements for the vehicles and equipment listed in 
the March 25, 2015 notice.
    Based on FHWA's conclusion that there are no domestic manufacturers 
that can produce the vehicles and equipment identified in this notice 
in such a way that steel and iron materials are manufactured 
domestically, and after consideration of the comments received, FHWA 
finds that application of FHWA's Buy America requirements to these 
products is inconsistent with the public interest (23 U.S.C. 313(b)(1) 
and 23 CFR 635.410(c)(2)(i)). However, FHWA believes that it is in the 
public interest and consistent with the Buy America requirements to 
impose the condition that the vehicles and the vehicle components be 
assembled in the U.S. Requiring final assembly to be performed in the 
U.S. is consistent with past guidance to FHWA Division Offices on 
manufactured products (see Memorandum on Buy America Policy Response, 
Dec. 22, 1997, http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/contracts/122297.cfm). A waiver of the Buy America requirement without any regard 
to where the vehicle is assembled would diminish the purpose of the Buy 
America requirement. Moreover, in today's economic environment, the Buy 
America requirement is especially significant in that it will ensure 
that Federal Highway Trust Fund dollars are used to support and create 
jobs in the U.S. This approach is similar to the conditional waivers 
previously given for various vehicle projects. Thus, so long as the 
final assembly of the 21 State projects occurs in the U.S., applicants 
to this waiver request may proceed to purchase these vehicles and 
equipment consistent with the Buy America requirement.
    In accordance with the provisions of section 117 of the ``Safe, 
Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy 
for Users, Technical Corrections Act of 2008'' (Pub. L. 110-244), FHWA 
is providing this notice of its finding that a public interest waiver 
of Buy America requirements is appropriate on the condition that the 
vehicles and equipment identified in the notice be assembled in the 
U.S. The FHWA invites public comment on this finding for an additional 
15 days following the effective date of the finding. Comments may be 
submitted to FHWA's Web site via the link provided to the waiver page 
noted above.

(Authority: 23 U.S.C. 313; Pub. L. 110-161, 23 CFR 635.410)

    Issued on: May 19, 2015.
Gregory G. Nadeau,
Acting Administrator, Federal Highway Administration.
[FR Doc. 2015-12759 Filed 5-26-15; 8:45 am]

Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library

The Crittenden Automotive Library on Facebook The Crittenden Automotive Library on Instagram The Crittenden Automotive Library at The Internet Archive The Crittenden Automotive Library on Pinterest The Crittenden Automotive Library on Twitter The Crittenden Automotive Library on Tumblr

The Crittenden Automotive Library

Home Page    About Us    Contribute