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The Buy America Act is a section of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 which applies to purchases related to rail or road transportation projects. Transportation infrastructure projects built with iron, steel, and manufactured products must purchase materials in the United States.
On November 27, 2012, the FTA rescinded a Buy America waiver for minivans after confirming that the Vehicle Production Group was starting production of a substantially similar vehicle, the MV-1, in the United States. At that time, the FTA received approximately 836 public comments in response to its notice, a significant number of comments claimed the MV-1 is solely a paratransit vehicle and does not qualify for FTA funding for vanpool services nor was the vehicle designed to accommodate daily commuters.
In its final rule, FTA recognized the issue, but did not revise the ruling, opting instead to give regional administrators the ability to provide a waiver for vanpool projects on a project by project basis. Only one program, the Fort Collins, CO, program applied for such waiver and it took over a year to complete. Recognizing this point, ACT requested action by FTA to act.
In 2016 the Federal Transit Administration finalized a partial Buy America waiver for the procurement of minivans used in vanpool programs. Specifically, the notices waives steel content requirements, however, the vehicle must be assembled in the United States. ACT, in its supportive response, asked a number of questions, most of which were addressed in the response. Below, please find links to the ACT comments as well as a link to the final notice.