December 10, 2002
Mars Electronics International
1301 Wilson Drive
West Chester, Pennsylvania 19380-5963
Dear Mr. Jones:
This letter responds to your correspondence of August 8, 2002, in which you request an extension of a Buy America non-availability waiver for the BNA57, BNA52/54, and BSN385/39 bill handling units manufactured for use in ticket vending machines. The bill handling unit at issue here is able to accept, validate, and place in mechanical escrow banknotes of various denominations. The device also transfers these banknotes from the escrow to a vault within the ticket vending machine or returns them if the transaction is not completed. On July 21, 2000, the Federal Transit Administration granted Mars Electronics a waiver for this unit. For the reasons below, I have determined that a waiver is appropriate here.
FTA's requirements concerning domestic preference for federally funded transit projects are set forth in 49 U.S.C. §5323(j). However, Section 5323(j)(2)(B) states that those requirements shall not apply if the item or items being procured are not produced in the U.S. in sufficient and reasonably available quantities and of a satisfactory quality. The implementing regulation also provides that a waiver may be requested "for a specific item or material that is used in the production of a manufactured product." 49 C.F.R. 661.7(g). The regulations allow a bidder or supplier to request a waiver only if it is being sought under this section. See, 49 C.F.R. 661.7(g) and 49 C.F.R. 661.9(d).
You state that there are still no U.S. manufacturers of this component with a functionally equivalent product. This assertion is supported by a market survey furnished as part of your application and conducted by Scheidt & Bachman, a ticket vending machine manufacturer and potential end user of this component. You have also supplied a letter supporting your contentions from Cubic Transportation Systems, another potential end user. FTA posted a request for comments on this matter on our website and received no comments from domestic manufacturers of this product.
Based on the above-referenced information, I have determined that the grounds for a "non-availability" waiver exist. Therefore, pursuant to the provisions of 49 U.S.C. §5323(j)(2)(B), a waiver is hereby granted for manufacture of the BNA57, BNA52/54, and BSN385/39 bill handling units for a period of two years, or until such time as a domestic source for this type of unit becomes available, whichever occurs first. In order to insure that the public is aware of this waiver, particularly potential manufacturers, it will be published in the Federal Register.
If you have any questions, please contact Joseph Pixley at (202) 366-1936.
Very truly yours,
Gregory B. McBride
Deputy Chief Counsel