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Notice of Proposed Buy America Waiver for Radio Consoles

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Buses Topics:  Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority

Notice of Proposed Buy America Waiver for Radio Consoles

Ellen Partridge
Federal Transit Administration
1 November 2016

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 211 (Tuesday, November 1, 2016)]
[Pages 75902-75903]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-26317]



Federal Transit Administration

[Docket No. FTA-2016-0038]

Notice of Proposed Buy America Waiver for Radio Consoles

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed Buy America waiver and request for comment.


SUMMARY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) received a request 
from the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (GDRTA) for a Buy 
America non-availability waiver for the procurement of radio consoles, 
which are a part of a voice and cellular data communications system 
(the ``radio consoles''). GDRTA's current voice and data communications 
equipment is obsolete and malfunctioning. The new communication system 
will result in improved operational efficiency. GDRTA seeks a waiver 
for the procurement of radio consoles because there are no 
manufacturers that produce radio consoles that are compatible with 
GDRTA's communications system and comply with the Buy America 
requirements. 49 U.S.C. 5323(j)(2)(B) and 49 CFR 661.7(c). GDRTA is 
joining Montgomery County's radio system, and the radio consoles 
compatible with the new system must be original equipment manufacturer 
(OEM) Motorola devices. Motorola cannot provide Buy America-compliant 
radio consoles. In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 5323(j)(3)(A), FTA is 
providing notice of the non-availability waiver request and seeks 
public comment before deciding whether to grant the request. If 
granted, the waiver would apply to the radio consoles identified in the 
waiver request.

DATES: Comments must be received by November 15, 2016. Late-filed 
comments will be considered to the extent practicable.

ADDRESSES: Please submit your comments by one of the following means, 
identifying your submissions by docket number FTA-2016-0038:
    1. Web site: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions 
for submitting comments on the U.S. Government electronic docket site.
    2. Fax: (202) 493-2251.
    3. Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue 
SE., Docket Operations, M-30, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-
140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
    4. Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Docket Operations, M-30, West Building, Ground 
Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001 between 9 a.m. and 5 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    Instructions: All submissions must make reference to the ``Federal 
Transit Administration'' and include docket number FTA-2016-0038. Due 
to the security procedures in effect since October 2011, mail received 
through the U.S. Postal Service may be subject to delays. Parties 
making submissions responsive to this notice should consider using an 
express mail firm to ensure the prompt filing of any submissions not 
filed electronically or by hand. Note that all submissions received, 
including any personal information therein, will be posted without 
change or alteration to http://www.regulations.gov. For more 
information, you may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the 
Federal Register published April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477), or you may 
visit http://www.regulations.gov.

Counsel, at (202) 366-2217 or Cecelia.comito@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of this notice is to provide 
notice and seek public comment on whether the FTA should grant a Buy 
America non-availability waiver for the Greater Dayton Regional 
Transportation Authority (GDRTA) to procure radio consoles, which would 
be a part of GDRTA's new communication system (the ``radio consoles''). 
On May 24, 2016, GPMTD requested a Buy America waiver for the radio 
consoles because

[[Page 75903]]

they are not produced in the United States in sufficiently and 
reasonably available quantities or of a satisfactory quality. 49 U.S.C. 
5323(j)(2)(B); 49 CFR 661.7(c).
    GDRTA is a public transit agency that serves Montgomery and Western 
Green counties in Ohio. GDRTA provides more than 9 million passenger 
trips per year on 31 routes throughout the region. In January 2014, 
GDRTA conducted a technology scope development project to determine how 
technology enhancements could improve its operational efficiency; this 
included a voice and data communication alternatives analysis. GDRTA 
comprehensively examined various technologies available for its voice 
and data communication needs. GDRTA compared and evaluated the 
differences between radio and cellular-based communication, including a 
cost analysis, reliability assessment, and long-range maintenance and 
operational differences. On August 5, 2014, the GDRTA Board approved 
the adoption of a mixed communication system for the agency, which 
would employ both voice and cellular data systems. GDRTA would join 
Montgomery County's 800MHz analog trunked system, instead of continuing 
to own a 450 MHz radio system.
    Montgomery County's analog system uses proprietary Motorola 
SmartNetTrunking, and all equipment must be original equipment 
manufacturer (OEM) Motorola devices. All equipment must also be 
programmed to use the County's 800MHz analog system and have the 
ability to work on the MARCS 800 MHz digital system without any 
additional hardware. In November 2014, GDRTA purchased Motorola mobile 
and portable radios for its supervisors and its diesel, trolly, 
paratransit, maintenance, and support vehicles. The procurement and 
installation of the radio consoles is the final step to move GDRTA's 
communication system to Montgomery County's system.
    Motorola manufactures equipment both domestically and overseas. 
While the voice processing module portion of the radio consoles are 
currently manufactured in Illinois, the other components are 
manufactured in Mexico. Thus, GDRTA is seeking a Buy America non-
availability waiver under 49 CFR 661.7(c)(1) for the radio consoles.
    With certain exceptions, 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). A manufactured product 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). If, however, FTA determines that 
``the steel, iron, and goods produced in the United States are not 
produced in a sufficient and reasonably available amount or are not of 
a satisfactory quality,'' then FTA may issue a waiver (non-availability 
waiver). 49 U.S.C. 5323(j)(2)(B); 49 CFR 661.7(c).
    Finally, under 49 U.S.C. 5323(j)(6), FTA cannot deny an application 
for a waiver based on non-availability unless FTA can certify that (i) 
the steel, iron, or manufactured good (the ``item'') is produced in the 
United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount; and (ii) 
the item produced in the United States is of a satisfactory quality. 
Additionally, FTA must provide a list of known manufacturers in the 
United States from which the item can be obtained. FTA is not aware of 
any manufacturers who produce the required radio consoles in the United 
    The purpose of this notice is to publish GDRTA's request and seek 
public comment from all interested parties in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 
5323(j)(3)(A). Comments will help FTA understand completely the facts 
surrounding the request, including the effects of a potential waiver 
and the merits of the request. After consideration of the comments, FTA 
will publish a second notice in the Federal Register with a response to 
comments and noting any changes made to the proposed waiver as a result 
of the comments received.

Ellen Partridge,
Chief Counsel.
[FR Doc. 2016-26317 Filed 10-31-16; 8:45 am]

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