ANNOUNCED AS TEMPORARYNo
Public procurement access
The Department of Transportation's Federal Railroad Administration published a notice in the Federal Register on September 29, 2010 that appears to strengthen the Buy American emphasis in the procurement practices of the FRA. This notice supplemented an earlier (2005) notice of evaluation criteria for the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) and provided policy guidance. In it the FRA stressed the priorities that FRA would pursue in RRIF financial assistance. In addition to the objectives of enhancing public safety ('DOT's highest programmatic priority'), enhancing the environment, and promoting economic development, these include 'enabl'ing' United States companies to be more competitive in international markets.' More specifically, the policy provides as follows (emphasis added):
FRA will prioritize projects that build a foundation for economic competitiveness. DOT fosters transportation policies and investments that serve the travelling public and freight movement to bring lasting economic and social benefit to the Nation. DOT seeks to encourage the expansion and development of domestic manufacturing of transportation systems and equipment in a manner consistent with law. In determining which projects best promote economic development and enable American companies to be more competitive in international markets, FRA will pay particular attention to projects that do the following: Lead to the construction, reconstruction or improvement of infrastructure or the acquisition of equipment or other capital assets on both freight and passenger (including commuter) rail corridors and related intermodal and multi-modal facilities that address capacity constraints in the Nation's transportation system and deliver integrated transportation system improvements, while spurring domestic employment in both the short-term and long-term; facilitate the development of new industries and businesses' access to the Nation's transportation system; and/ or improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of freight movements of domestic products into global commerce. To further address these priorities, FRA will expect recipients of direct loans or loan guarantees under the RRIF Program to agree to use funds provided to them under the RRIF Program to purchase steel, iron and other manufactured goods produced in the United States for the project. Mitigating factors include but are not limited to limitations on sufficient quantity, availability and quality; inability to purchase and have delivered rolling stock or power train equipment within a reasonable time; and whether including domestic material would increase the cost of the overall project by more than 25 percent.
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