Contact: Angela Gates
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced a decision that clears the way for two domestic manufacturers—Braun Corporation in Winamac, Indiana and ElDorado National in Salina, Kansas—to handle final assembly of transit minivans that meet FTA’s “Buy America” rules. Through “Buy America,” FTA helps to ensure that transit vans, buses, streetcars, and rail cars funded with taxpayer dollars are built in the U.S. to the greatest extent possible using American-made materials and labor.
“President Obama is committed to strengthening the U.S. economy by putting more Americans to work making the products our nation needs to grow and compete in the 21st century,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “The ‘Buy America’ program keeps more good manufacturing jobs in Indiana, Kansas and elsewhere, while creating new opportunities for companies eager to meet the growing demand for public transportation vehicles.”
Braun and ElDorado National separately petitioned FTA earlier this year to learn whether their manufacturing processes for converting Chrysler and Dodge minivans into wheelchair-accessible vehicles for use by public transit agencies met FTA’s “Buy America” requirements for final assembly. After careful review, FTA determined that both manufacturers meet the requirements. The decision helps both companies keep hundreds of workers busy converting vans—while providing more work for nearly a dozen smaller suppliers around country that provide door panels, ramps, and other custom components.
“Between 2008 and 2012, FTA reduced the number of ‘Buy America’ waivers allowing companies to source their materials off-shore from 37 down to just three,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. “Clearly, our industry partners are finding new and innovative ways to make and assemble transportation vehicles here at home. This is a big win for American jobs and American manufacturing.”
Consistent with the President’s efforts to boost domestic employment through infrastructure investment, FTA has dramatically strengthened its adherence and enforcement of its Buy America rules. FTA has vigorously investigated alleged violations and has also begun auditing select rolling stock procurements to ensure that the vehicles rolling off the assembly line actually contained the percent of U.S.-made infrastructure required under its regulations. FTA’s “Buy America” rules require that at least 60 percent of the components used in transit vehicles must be manufactured in the United States.