September 16, 2004
Ms. Joni Earl
Chief Executive Officer
401 South Jackson Street
Seattle, Washington 98104
Dear Ms. Earl:
This letter follows the Federal Transit Administrationís (FTA) Buy America compliance review of Sound Transitís federally funded construction contracts. As you know, FTA received a petition to investigate Buy America violations at Sound Transit. The petition alleged that Sound Transit had applied the Buy America requirements incorrectly in order to purchase foreign structural steel.1
The investigation request did not refer to a specific contract, and accordingly, FTA opted to look at the documents from two sample projects. Those materials revealed the use of $9,502 worth of foreign steel in the Kent Pedestrian Bridge Project, in violation of FTAís Buy America requirements.
FTAís Buy America investigative procedures, 49 C.F.R. 661.15, establish a presumption that a bidder that has submitted a Buy America certificate is in compliance with that regulation. A third party may petition FTA to investigate a successful bidderís certification for alleged non-compliance. The regulation requires that the petition include a statement of the grounds of the petition and any supporting documentation. If FTA determines that the presumption has been overcome, it initiates an investigation.
This situation is unique in that it concerns multiple contracts and certifications. Therefore, after initially finding a violation in the Kent Pedestrian Bridge documents, FTA conducted a general review of Sound Transitís Buy America compliance in order to determine whether an investigation was warranted. Between August 19 and 25, 2004, Meghan Ludtke and Ted Uyeno reviewed the procurement and construction files for Sound Transitís federally funded construction projects.2
Based on this review, I conclude that the underlying grounds for the petition, that Sound Transit was applying the Buy America requirements incorrectly in order to purchase foreign structural steel, were not substantiated. Therefore, I will not initiate an investigation.
If you have any questions, please contact Meghan Ludtke at (202) 366-1936 or Ted Uyeno at (206) 220-7954.
Very truly yours,
Gregory B. McBride
Deputy Chief Counsel
cc: Richard F. Krochalis, Regional Administrator
1The petition is discussed in great detail in FTAís letter of November 25, 2003, and Sound Transitís letters of December 17, 2003, February 13 2004, and April 26, 2004.
2In addition to the documents already reviewed from Kent 2A Bridge and Lynnwood Transit Center, FTA looked at the files for Bellevue Transit Center, Overlake Transit Center, Auburn Station, Tacoma Dome Station, Reservation Connection, C700 Central Link Light Rail, and the C810 Operations and Maintenance Base.