Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (Las Vegas)

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September 25, 2000

Mr. Jacob L. Snow
General Manager
Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada
600 South Grand Central Parkway, Suite 350
Las Vegas, NV 89106-4512

Dear Mr. Snow:

Thank you for your letter of August 18, 2000, requesting a waiver of the applicable "Buy America" requirements, as they apply to a proposed sole source procurement by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) for the purchase of up to ten Irisbus Civis vehicle systems for use in a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) demonstration project in Clark County. The Civis vehicle system consists of 60-foot coach powered by clean diesel-electric driveline accommodating 120-168 passengers with an optical guidance system.

The Federal Transit Administrationís (FTA) general requirements concerning domestic preference for the procurement of manufactured products are set forth in 49 U.S.C. Section 5323(j). Under 49 U.S.C. Section 5323(j)(2)(B), those requirements shall not apply if the item or items being procured are not produced in the United States in suficient and reasonably available quantities and of a satisfactory quality. In the case of a sole source, the implementing regulation provides that a waiver will be granted, "if the grantee provides sufficient information which indicates that the item to be procured is only available from a single source, or that the item to be procured is not produced in sufficient and reasonably available quantities of a satisfactory quality in the United States." 49 C.F.R. Section 661.7(c)(2).

The RTC states that its demonstration project will show the feasibility of BRT systems as a cost-effective alternative to light rail. In order to develop and implement a BRT project that meets the particular transit demands in Las Vegas, the RTC has determined that it needs a system that will include the following characteristics:

  1. Low floor vehicles; high passenger capacity articulated vehicles; and wider doors for high passenger volume access and egress
  2. Capability of both (A) automated guided operations in a reserved lane, and (B) normal operations in mixed flow traffic
  3. Hybrid propulsion technology
  4. Vehicle Aesthetics

RTC has provided an independent market survey and analysis conducted by Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Quade & Douglas which determined that no manufacturer offers a BRT system satisfying the Buy America requirements and including the performance characteristics needed by RTC.

Given the information you have provided, I have determined that the grounds for a "non-availability" waiver exist. Therefore, pursuant to the provisions of 49 U.S.C. Section 5323(j)(2)(B), a waiver is hereby granted for the above-referenced procurement.

If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Khuong Luu at (415) 744-3118, or our Regional Counsel, Ms. Renee Marler at (415) 744-3133.


Leslie T. Rogers
Regional Administrator

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