Public Interest Waiver of Buy America Requirements; Request for Comments (June 1987)


Printer Friendly Number 52 FR 23735
06-24-87

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Urban Mass Transportation Administration
AGENCY: Urban Mass Transportation Administration, DOT.
[Docket No. 87-A]
52 FR 23735
June 24, 1987

Public Interest Waiver of Buy America Requirements; Request for Comments

ACTION: Notice -- request for comments.

SUMMARY: Section 165(a) of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 provides that Federal funds may not be obligated for the purchase of manufactured products unless such products are produced in the United States. Section 165(b)(1) provides that the general requirements of section 165(a) can be waived if their application in inconsistent with the public interest. The Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA) is seeking comments on whether such a waiver should be granted for the procurement of bus tires produced in Canada in order to allow increased competition in the bus tire supply industry.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before July 27, 1987.

ADDRESS: Comments should be submitted to UMTA Docket No. 87-A, Urban Mass Transportation Administration, Room 9316, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. All comments and suggestions received will be available for examination at the above address between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:Edward J. Gill, Jr., Office of the Chief Counsel, Room 9316, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. (202) 366-4063.

TEXT: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In a decision dated May 20, 1987, UMTA announced that tires produced in Canada were not exempted from the "Buy America" regulations. (This decision is discussed in detail in a separate Notice in this edition of the Federal Register.) A issue addressed in that decision was whether UMTA should issue a public interest waiver under sectin 165(b)(1) of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 to allow Canadian made tires to compete with tires manufactured in the United States.

Section 165(b)(1) provides that any of the requirements of section 165(a) may be waived if their application would be inconsistent with the public interest. The implementing regulation at 49 CFR 661.7(b) provides that "[i]n determining whether th[e] exception will be granted, [UMTA] will consider all appropriate factors on a case by case basis . . ."

Firestone Tire and Rubber Company and Michelin Tire Corporation have both argued that if the "Buy America" requirements are applied to their bus tires manufactured in Canada, they are effectively excluded from the U.S. marketplace. They claim that Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company would be left in the position of being the sole supplier of bus tires available to UMTA funded transit providers. Firestone argues that the public interest is best served by having competition in the marketplace.

In the preamble to the "Buy America" regulations published in the Federal Register on September 15, 1983 (48 FR 41462), UMTA indicated that in certain circumstances in which a public interest waiver is sought under section 165(b)(1), the proposed waiver would be published in the Federal Register for comment. Such a procedure is not mandatory before a public interest waiver is granted, but UMTA uses the procedure where the public interest waiver involves important policy considerations or is controversial. It is UMTA's position that these circumstances exist in this case.

Before determining whether a public interest waiver under section 165(b)(1) should be issued, UMTA is seeking public comment from all interested parties. UMTA is seeking this public comment since it is felt that the granting or denial of such a waiver would have nationwide consequences and UMTA seeks to have all available information prior to rendering a decision.

Dated: June 19, 1987.

Joseph A. LaSala, Jr.,

Chief Counsel.

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