Dear Ms. White:
This responds to your letter dated February 11, 2004, requesting a non-availability waiver of the Buy America requirements for the Condor Plus coin acceptor used in mobile transit applications. The Condor Plus is manufactured by Money Controls, Ltd. and is not compliant with Buy America. For the reasons below, I have determined that a waiver is appropriate here.
The Federal Transit Administrationís (FTA) requirements concerning domestic preference for federally funded transit projects are set forth in 49 U.S.C. §5323(j) and 49 C.F.R. 661. Manufactured products used in FTA-funded projects must be produced in the U.S. 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.
According to the information you submitted, there is no functional equivalent to the Condor Plus available from a domestic manufacturer. You explain that the Condor Plus accepts ten coins per second; discriminates between six coin types and tokens; operates at a higher tilt than other coin acceptors; and has a wide, direct-drop design that allows coins to pass through without jamming. Coincard, a fare collection system manufacturer, confirmed by letter that there is no equivalent coin mechanism manufactured in the U.S.
FTA posted a request for comments on this matter on our website and received three comments in support of this waiver. The commenters did not submit extensive commentary: Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation, Washington Group International, and an individual, all commented that they support the waiver. We received no comments indicating that there is a domestic manufacturer of a functionally equivalent product.
FTA is not aware of any domestic manufacturer of this equipment. Therefore, consistent with existing waivers for other currency handling devices used in fare collection equipment, I find that the grounds for a non-availability waiver exist. Pursuant to the provisions of 49 U.S.C. §5323(j)(2)(B), a waiver is hereby granted for manufacture of the Condor Plus coin acceptor for a period of two years.
If you have any questions, please contact Meghan Ludtke at (202) 366-1936.
Very truly yours,
Gregory B. McBride
Deputy Chief Counsel
 Please see Cashcode letter of June 11, 2003; Toyocom letter of December 13, 2002; Mars letter of December 10, 2002; and Asahi Seiko letter of December 9, 2002.